Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to give a seminar on CSR for a group of idealists in field of Healthcare here in China. All the participants turned out to be working for NGOs, for children who were blind and orphaned, children of Convicts, sick babies with poor parents who needed medical attention etc. The goal of the seminar was to get an idea of what Corporate Social Responsibility was, what it meant in the Healthcare Industry in China, and the opportunities this could give to the NGOs working in the non profit Healthcare.
My first surprise was to understand that these NGOs were quite new to the terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, ISO 26 000 (the toolkit for companies to find out your CSR strategy) and the term stakeholder engagement. The NGOs in the meeting room were specialized in philanthropy actions; all kinds of different companies from all industry sectors were interested in giving something to their NGOs because they wanted to do something good, period. The initial idea of this meeting was to have a discussion with some companies in the Healthcare sector as well, but it turned out that only the (Fund hungry )NGOs had the time for the meeting.
The fact that only the NGOs were in the room did give us time to go in depth in what companies in the Healthcare sector in China could use these NGOs for, not only for philanthropy, but also as a stakeholder in their field of expertise; or as a way to have a cross cultural exchange; or to have a team building exercise, to enhance their local presence in China, etc. etc. I drew out a chart (and this second power point is now on LinkedIn as well under my profile) and the links that could be made in the two senses an NGO can link to a Company: they can connect with each other on shared Values (improving Child rights, helping the impoverished in education, improving the environment ) or on shared activities (Farming at an orphanage: help for the Agro-Food sector. Sick Children: help from the Top End Hospital. Making education materials: help from a publishing company)
Top tip from the NGOs , think twice before you start giving as a company. Is their a good Match? The major frustration of these NGOs was the lack of understanding of some companies that the NGOs had more to ask than painting walls in the dormitory, when they would rather have help making a sound accounting report, or help building their website, or simply some money also allocated for the overhead costs. (Because computers don’t grow on trees, apples do) Based on their frustration, I made a chart that I put here so hopefully more companies can understand the needs of the NGOs and the benefits they can have on working with them, not just for philanthropic reasons, however good they are for a start!
Conditions for a good Match between NGOs and a Company:
For an NGO
1.Be Clear and on time and on what to offer and ask.