HomeCompany NewsHow to choose local giving back initiatives that really make an impact

How to choose local giving back initiatives that really make an impact

Corporate social investment and responsibility for business and giving back for individuals plays such an important role in the upliftment of society. In the world’s current economic climate, homelessness and job losses are rising at unprecedented levels. In many countries we also see a need for skills education to prepare youth for the future of work. From supporting education through sponsored bursaries to spending time making and handing out soup for the hungry, there are so many options to choose from that it can make knowing where to start difficult.

How can businesses and individuals go about finding and choosing initiatives to support that help surrounding communities and make a difference in their local regions?

Assessing your core values

Choosing local giving-back initiatives that truly make an impact is a powerful way for a company to contribute to its surrounding community, thereby creating positive change.

When selecting these initiatives, says Dalit Shekel, Brand Consultant at Relate Bracelets, it’s important to consider several key factors. “First, assess the alignment between your company’s values and the organisation’s mission. Look for initiatives that resonate with your core beliefs and address issues that are important to you. Next, examine the track record and reputation of the organisation. Research their past projects, impact evaluations, and financial transparency to ensure they are accountable and effective.”

Additionally, shares Shekel, consider the sustainability and long-term potential of the initiative. “Look for initiatives that not only provide immediate assistance but also promote self-reliance and empower individuals and communities in the long run. Finally, consider the scalability and collaboration potential of the initiative. Assess whether the organisation can leverage partnerships and resources to amplify their impact, “she says.

Working with local government and existing charities

Sustainability should not start and end at the entrance of your property. It should extend to the broader world outside. It’s therefore important that businesses work with organisations that are making a difference on the ground in the towns and cities in which they operate.

This could also involve partnering with local city and governmental institutions that are working to alleviate the effects of poverty, for example. Companies should reach out to City Managers to seek out the initiatives that need support. It’s also important to remember that sustainability is about more than just the environment. People play an important role too.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with the Cape Town City Improvement District (CCID) and Hope for the Homeless organisation to provide warm blankets to Cape Town’s unhoused community, ahead of the cold winter season,” says Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront Training Manager, Porche Benjamin. Radisson Group hotels in the city including Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Park Inn Foreshore and Radisson RED V&A Cape Town will each have a box on display in their lobby area, to get as many blanket donations from guests and staff as possible.

“This shows that our different hotels aren’t just able to drive sustainability through their own actions but can also help their guests participate in sustainability initiatives in the destinations they visit,” concludes Benjamin.

Considering the environment and sustainability

With consumers increasingly looking for brands and products that offer sustainable  packaging or that are linked to eco-friendly initiatives, consider a partnership with an organisation that will result in a proven, positive impact on the environment.

HMD Global’s partnership with Ecologi is a great example of a brand that’s helping consumers to be more planet-savvy and give back when they purchase their product. Each time someone buys a Nokia G21, Ecologi commits to planting a certain number of trees in a forest. To date, this movement has achieved a 7t carbon reduction and has collectively planted 417,000 trees around the world.

In addition to this, Nokia Circular, HMD Global’s new subscription model (available in selected markets only) is designed to cut down on e-waste by leasing users a handset for a period of time and recycling the product at the end of its lifecycle. HMD’s new packaging is now 100% recycled or FSC® certified.

Buy and procure local

The oldest cliche in the book is giving people a hand-up instead of a handout. And yet so many large businesses in South Africa continue not to buy from local companies. So while there’s absolutely a huge imperative to support charities and good causes, the single best thing that a company can do is to buy from local startups and scale ups.

CEO of Sea Monster Entertainment, Glenn Gillis says, “We often see companies buying solutions internationally that are readily available here. The irony is that the Enterprise and Supplier Development Initiatives and the BEE codes speak to the concept of buying and supporting local, given that those companies support local families and networks like everybody else.

“Without having to give a handout, simply buying from local companies will make a huge impact. And that doesn’t mean supporting just physical manufacturing companies or people supplying biscuits for the boardroom, it also means supporting our world class local knowledge-intensive creative solution providers,” adds Gillis.

When choosing an initiative to support this year, consider assessing whether it aligns with your own values, how quickly your contribution can help those in need, and what impact it will have on the local environment and economy.