Now more than ever during this period of crisis when solidarity is called on to get through the pandemic, businesses have an opportunity to make a significant contribution. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not only important for businesses as accountable members of society, but is also an opportunity for an organization to interact with socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental systems in society.
While big corporations are able to give huge donations both in-kind and monetary, SME’s also have an opportunity to give back. How you ask? Well, let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Start a Mentoring Program
There are hundreds of college and university students who are eyeing a career in the industry that you are in. With the pandemic, students are now at home and have more free time (even at least from commuting and going out) to learn something new. SMEs can take this opportunity to offer free mentorship sessions. This could be done through webinars or online meetings. Doing this will not only grow your employee’s skills in public speaking, but it will also boost staff motivation. In addition, you will be contributing to growing and shaping the future workforce in your area of work. At EGCL we mentor students in partnership with Good Kenyan a social enterprise that aims to empower, transform, and engage high school leavers before they join higher learning institutions. In addition, we host free webinars on public finance management related topics that students can participate in.
2. Encourage Employee Volunteerism
If you are one of the organizations that have embraced a work from home arrangement, you could encourage your staff to volunteer in their communities. For instance, during this pandemic staff members could plug in initiatives happening in their neighborhood such as food distribution to the less vulnerable or work with health officers in their neighborhood on initiatives such as communicating emergency contacts to households or checking to see if the neighbors need any special assistance. SMEs can support their staff by assigning a few hours every week towards a social responsibility of choice. EGCL is an active member of the Kilimani Community in which we are located, actively participating in the COVID19 response of activities initiated by the Kilimani Project Foundation, the area neighborhood association.
3. Support Local Businesses
During this pandemic, SME’s can help each other stay afloat by introducing them to a new set of clients. One way to do this is by promoting small businesses on your social media platforms or by word of mouth to your family and friends. Expanding their audience reach will help them gain extra business. This art of giving back can be carried on even after COVID as long as it doesn’t affect your company’s bottom line.
These are just but a few ways in which your business could stand with the community and make a difference. I am sure there are many other ways you could give back customized to the nature of your business; please send us additional ideas in the comments below.