Charity and Business – Look at Me or Look at Them?

I’ve just finished reading Help for Heroes, a very touching and inspiring book, narrating stories of British soldiers who have been injured in the line of duty and who’s courage and determination not to let the traumas and injuries of war prevent them from accomplishing what they want to achieve in life; it’s a very humbling book and one I strongly recommend.

My thoughts passed to a large firm of accountants whose offices I regularly pass overlooking a major intersection; emblazoned across the front of the building is the proclamation that they support XYZ charity.

Now call me cynical but I found the “luvvies” with their arms draped around some poor unfortunate soldier and the four-foot square sign from the firm of accountants, somewhat jarring and false.

Does a business think that charity sponsorship is as mandatory as a social media strategy and therefore need to stage-managed in the same way? doesn’t charity come from our beliefs and our ethics or am I missing something?

There should be ethics in business because we are the ones imparting our position (that we have been granted by our consumers, let’s not forget) upon our Customers and Clients; does not that inherent trust automatically bring a responsibility of social conscience with it?

From the Directors that I talk to, they say it’s difficult enough juggling the demands already made upon them without having to consider yet another dimension and so it sits there, often unaddressed.

I believe however that it can be addressed, hopefully not in the same way I’ve commented upon above, but more in the style of Joanna Lumley, Jim Davidson, the late Bob Monkhouse and innumerable other dedicated, hard-working, selfless and often nameless individuals across our country.

They don’t shout “look at me” instead they say “look at them”

About Michael Carr

Specialising in Strategy, Systems and Organisational Design I've had a varied and rewarding career and been fortunate to work for some superb companies such as Courtaulds, Unipart International, Akzo Nobel and more recently Jaguar Landrover, all luminaries of a solid, disciplined and a conservative, though never lacking in innovation, approach to business management and development. Augmenting my career with studying for my MBA at Warwick in the early 90's has given me a balanced and I believe rich resource set to draw upon in my Consultancy Practice. My Clients have been good to me, tolerating my idiosyncrasies, giving me enough rope to go along the journey that I was taking them and hopefully in return I've been able to repay them by raising the bar and their business performance, giving them the results and achievements they were looking for. I really enjoy my work and love the challenge - isn't that what it's all about?
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