PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

CSR in the Face of a Crisis

In Corporate Social Responsibility on January 20, 2010 at 4:03 am

Every other Television channel in the past week has had something about the tragedy in Haiti and ways you can lend a helping hand. Driving down the street I saw billboards on ways I can help with the crisis in Haiti. You could even observe the Corporate Social Responsibility efforts of various companies on many of your news stations and the large sums of money they choose to give.

Money is always one of the best gifts  you can give anyone in the face of a crisis or just as a plain birthday or Christmas gift because only the “gift receiver” knows what he/she really needs. However, when you look back on your life and think about your parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc… what do you think about? You think about past times you may have spent with those people. TIME is one of the most valuable gifts you can give anyone because there simply is just not enough of it.

I recently heard the simple but very meaningful phrase “give what cost you the most.” It’s not saying give your whole life savings but rather give something that you are going to miss. When it comes to giving some people may give clothes they no longer want, year-old can goods from the pantry they never plan to eat, or the two dollars they will probably never think about again. Instead of giving the old can goods, why not include something you may plan to eat during the week?

From my personal observation the giving efforts from not only the United States but around the World has been immense in helping Haitians during their time of need. I began to think, I may not have the necessary resources to actually go to Haiti and lend my helping hand but if given the opportunity I would definitely give my time to assist with the overwhelming need.

When you think of a company, what is one of their most valuable assets? Their employees of course.  Employees keep a company running and generate income for the company they work for. As a person working in the public relations or communications department of a company one of your jobs may be using your creative juices to ponder up ways to improve the CSR efforts of your company. While watching CNN earlier in the week I saw the amount of money many organizations gave to aid the efforts in Haiti and often this money went to nonprofits that usually respond to all types of crisis around the world.

I thought why not take these CSR efforts a step further in the face of a crisis. As discussed earlier, I came to the conclusion that time is the most valuable resource, whether personal or professional. As an example many companies gave one million dollars to aid Haitians. Companies are able to take these efforts a step further if they use a small portion of the money to sponsor a few willing and trusting employees to personally go over to Haiti and contribute their time on behalf of his/her organization. As a representative of your company you may get there and do something as little as comforting a child while his family is being located or locating formula for a mother to feed her newborn. I’m sure that the individual you helped will remember you because you were there in their most despeserate hour.

 Of course this may not be the best time to push your companies brand in a country that has just experienced one of the worst natural disasters to date. However since you are in this country representing your company then you will most likely have some type of company logo visible to the natural eye to differentiate yourself from the other groups giving aid. Therefore, you never know what people know, notice, or remember about you. A person from a different organization doing a similar job as you may take notice or even the Haitian citizen standing a few feet from you watching you comfort a child may be observing you. Naturally these people will associate your positive efforts with the organization you represent. It may only be one, two or hundreds of people that take notice but whatever the number, people are associating your company with a positive image and not with just the business aspect.

If the time of your employees is one the components that makes your organization run efficiently then why not sacrifice that in the face of a crisis, especially if this could be beneficial to your company in the future. Take your CSR efforts a step further and lend that personal touch to those who really need it, not only are you helping someone but you are also helping your company to continue to prosper in the end.

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