Friday, July 03, 2009

Social responsibility - what drives you?

Yesterday, I listened to an interesting talk by Chit Juan of Philippine Coffee Board, during the Public Relations Society of the Philippines 2nd general membership meeting, about the subject of corporate social responsibility or CSR.

There are key take-aways in her talk that I'd like to note in this blog post:
  • CSR is not limited to big enterprises
    Even SMEs and individuals can undertake social responsibility efforts. A good example will be about hiring local talent and not taking advantage of their situation by paying them reasonably.
  • It must outlive the CEO or initiator
    As an individual, I think that is easier said than done on my part. I have founded an organization in the past and have let go for continuity. Apparently, when things got quite hot, and the pioneers started checking, seeking for transparency, we got cut off. That experience brought a lot of lessons learned and saw how people change the moment they are given power. It makes me wonder whether DigitalFilipino will outlive me or die with me.
  • Customers choose responsible companies, those with CSR, and recommend them to peers
    I think becoming top of mind is more than just skill and portfolio. It is also what you are about. Are you all about money or you have a purpose that is bigger than you? It is not just blogging about it or putting a badge on your site. It is actually living it without any complaints. I noticed as well that for the clients I've worked with, a lot of them note of the various extra-curricular activities undertaken that is not directly related to the service being offered. Subconsciously, it plays a big role indeed.

  • What differentiates you? Quality? Price? CSR?
    For me, I think all the above applies. Services are being offered that is worth more than what one pays for. Pricing was done in such a way that is affordable to the budget. A big chunk of revenues goes to CSR (such as funding of writing projects, awards, free seminars/roadshow, free books and reports). Everything else that remains is profit.
  • Doing good and telling it well
    This makes me wonder how do you tell it without appearing to be boasting or overselling what you are doing? Most of my undertakings did not have much stories written about them as they are advocacies and not intended for media mileage.
At the end of the day, it is not the glitz and glamor that makes a project great, its impact and how it touches those who participated mattered the most.

Postscript (2/5/2012) - After writing this post, I recall sending Chit Juan an email sharing this and began receiving updates from her. We connected and started doing some small projects together. To date, Chit is one inspiring person that I can turn to. Her support to young entrepreneurs is a morale booster. Still consider myself very fortunate to be touched by her kindness. Thank you Chit.