Being involved in corporate social responsibility, charity work or volunteering is many times an afterthought when it comes to running a business. Often, owners and employees are too busy managing their accounts, too worried about profit margins, or too stressed about next day’s deliverables. In some cases, however, charity work, volunteering for a cause one believes in or setting up a corporate social responsibility program can bring a wealth of benefits to one’s business, career and personal life.
Corporate Social Responsibility & Charity Work Examples in Hong Kong
On one of our forums, Taxlinked.net member Belinda Wong, Director at Leader Corporate Services Limited in Hong Kong, discussed her experience with charitable work and corporate social responsibility. In talking about her work, she cited several corporate social responsibility examples she’s been involved with via her company registration and secretarial services firm.
“Hong Kong,” she says, “has a wide variety of charities focusing on poverty relief, education, religion or the betterment of the community as a whole. These activities are not restricted 100% to Hong Kong as there are also charities to build schools in Mainland China and provide relief for Nepal, among others.”
“Personally, I help people register charities to enable them to serve our communities. My belief is that if each one of us can contribute a little of our expertise, our society and the globe as one can be a much better place. Materially speaking, doing charity work has not brought any benefits to my company.”
“Currently,” Belinda adds, “I am working on two projects focusing on Hong Kong’s aging population. We set up a company limited by guarantee for each project and helped prepare a list of activities that the company will carry out over the next twelve months. Approval of the charity status application is at the discretion of the Inland Revenue Department and might take at the very least 6 to 12 months. Once registered as a charity, any donation of HK$100 or above is eligible for deduction as expenses for tax purposes.”
“Hong Kong’s people have a record of longevity and a very low birth rate. Therefore, these two projects can hopefully enlighten the local citizens on how to live a long and happy life,” she concludes.
7 Advantages to Setting Up a Corporate Social Responsibility Program
In what has become a Taxlinked.net tradition, here is a handy list of ways in which boosting the social responsibility of business can be highly beneficial.
Build Up & Differentiate Your Brand: Historically speaking, this is the principal reason for companies to set up a corporate social responsibility program. By helping one’s community and doing all sorts of charity work, companies hope to be recognized by potential clients as a charitable organization that cares for society. And it works. Take the case of American shoe company TOMS. Their well-known motto is “One for One,” which guarantees a child in the developing world a free pair of shoes for each pair sold. By 2012, they had delivered more than two million shoes to poverty-struck regions across the world. Success stemming from this initial offer led the company to extend this guarantee to other products, handing out free drinking water, birth kits and child delivery training, restored eyesight and more to individuals and communities in need.
Engage Your Customers: Corporate social responsibility and charitable work provides your customers with an opportunity to be involved in the betterment of the world. In the TOMS case referred to above, customers know they are helping a child in need with every purchase they make and this knowledge might incite them to purchase more of the company’s products. Developing these types of programs to promote the social responsibility of business is attractive to a customer base that wants to contribute to society and feel part of a larger scale effort to improve the world.
Involve Your Employees: Employees also benefit from corporate social responsibility programs and charity work. Installing these types of programs gives employees an opportunity to feel as important cogs in the machine, proactively promote their company’s name and brand, and be proud of their employers. LinkedIn, for instance, sets asides one Friday (“Investment Day or InDay”) each month for employees to go out into the community, perform charitable work and invest in themselves. In the past, they’ve organized Library[in], a day dedicated to book sharing and school supplies drives, Wimbled[in], an employee tennis tournament, and FunDay, an event held in Dublin to collect money for children with Down Syndrome.
Develop Other Skills: Being involved in activities outside the scope of your work or profession is a great way to learn and enhance skills you do not possess or use on a daily basis. Corporate social responsibility programs will encourage employees to think creatively and engage in activities that might be beyond their comfort zone. Acquiring such knowledge and tools can only be beneficial to the individual’s personal development and overall wellbeing of the company.
Opportunities to Network & Build Your Business: By reaching out to the community and interacting on a regular basis with those around you, your company is more than likely to grow its network and expand its business. Community engagement and constant communication with individuals and organizations in your geographical area or industry sector will make you aware of new business opportunities and allow you to present up-and-coming products and services to a large customer base. Additionally, building strong and cordial relations with local government authorities will make it easier for you to go about your work.
Save $€¥ £: Imagine setting up a corporate social responsibility program that focuses on helping the environment by promoting recycling or cutting down on wasteful use of energy? In the long run, besides building your company’s brand as a “green” company, it will save you money. Google Green, for example, is a lifestyle choice by the company to become more energy efficient and run its facilities on renewable energy. At this time, 35% of Google’s energy needs are covered by renewable energy and that number is on the upswing. Furthermore, according to the initiative’s website, their massive data centers consume 50% less energy than similar ones elsewhere. By pushing these efforts, Google promotes itself as environmentally friendly, helps society cut down on waste, and ultimately saves itself vast sums of money.
Gives You a Sense of Purpose: Let’s face it. We all like to feel appreciated and recognized for our good deeds. Helping your community via corporate social responsibility or charitable work will make you and your employees feel great about themselves and their contributions to society. This can be a very powerful and positive feeling that, if properly channeled, can drive your business to greater heights.
Questions: Have you set up a corporate social responsibility program? Care to share corporate social responsibility examples that have worked for you? How have they benefited your company?