Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Volunteering Abroad: Corporate Social Responsibility
More and more corporations are starting to engage in international volunteer programs, they are doing this as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. Corporate responsibility helps to align organizations business operations with social values. Volunteering abroad as a part of your corporate social responsibility will help your organization address expectations of some of your other stake holders, including your investors and employees. It therefore does not only help you to relate to the local people, who are your potential customers and clients but it also helps you to get more in touch with and retain your employees. While at the same time making sure you are meeting your social responsibility responsibilities, keeping your investors and shareholders happy.
Corporate social responsibility helps to strengthen your corporate reputation; it helps your organization show that you care for the community at large. This not only being the members of the community in your home town but with others from different places around the world. It shows that you can exercise accountable business practices, and in the process help your corporate identity grow as a contributor to global well being, not just your own.
With regard to your share holders and investors, corporate social responsibility helps them to see that your organization has good ethics and governance. They will be at ease that the company they hold a stake in has a good management team, who encourage and have good policies that they implement in the running of the organization. They will also see that the company is responsive to the needs and values of all its stake holders. In addition, they will see that your company has a good human resource practices, committed toward employment equity, retention and attraction of new and competent workers.
The community you choose to carry out your corporate responsibility obligations will also benefit from your actions. A good example is a company that is in the business of manufacturing and distributing sanitary pads. It gives some of its employees some days off and takes them to a developing country, where a good number of girls miss half their school days as a result of their periods. Such a community will benefit by ensuring that all members of the community are educated and in the future create a loyal market base for their product that will probably last for generations within the community.
Your employees will feel like they are part of a fully functional family, rather than corporate machinery that does not have social values. Having your employees travel abroad and work together to help a needy community, will help them to develop stronger bonds with each other and therefore work well if not better with each other. A sense of teamwork and appreciation for their jobs will develop between them; it will also help to demolish some barriers between employer and employees.
Your organization can take a number of approaches to social responsibility abroad; it can be as simple as an investment in a society like offering a scholarship to bright members of the society. You can also help to develop a community in terms of infrastructure, like building a school or hospital. An organization can also go with the more common method of making charitable donations towards a certain community towards a worthy cause. All these methods can in turn work in favor of your organization by generating good publicity, and visibility, they can therefore work as a marketing exercise for the organization.