Lots of businesses talk about CSR, not a slightly misspelled crime drama but Corporate Social Responsibility – the work that a corporation does to help the society that it operates in. Well if many years of business and of working alongside the charity sector have taught me anything, it is that business don’t help people – people help people. For every business that has a CSR programme that employees happily contribute time and effort to supporting, there are a dozen more whose employees quietly go off in evenings and weekend to support local clubs, society, help the elderly, the unwell or those in need.
It’s you guys that I want to raise a glass to this evening. (I should probably tell you that it’ll be a glass on something non alcoholic on this particular occasion because I’m volunteering this weekend at a Methodist-run venue in Northampton so it’s grape juice all round until we head to the pub after the event’s all over) Your work to support your friends, your family, your community and those in need around the world makes a real difference and makes the world a better place.
I’m particularly proud this weekend to be celebrating the 20th event in a series that began back in 2004 and which aims to give young people from all backgrounds a chance to spend some time learning about and understanding themselves, their faith and the world around them. Over the years, many many people have contributed their time and effort to making a difference to young peoples lives, we’ve run educational sessions, apprentice programmes, interactive workshops and all sorts of activities which wouldn’t have taken place without ordinary folks getting up one day and giving their time that day over to someone else.
So why am I sharing this with you? Well, I hope that I might just encourage you – even though, like me, you might have had a busy week and want nothing better than to head for home and put your feet up – to instead find an opportunity to help someone else. There are few things more rewarding, and I promise when you do head back to work on Monday, you’ll walk with your head held a little higher.
And if you run a business? What can you do to encourage and support your team to use their skills in support of your community. Your business will benefit directly because your staff will have done something great – or perhaps just share with others what they’re already doing that’s great – and you’ll have made the world a better place.
And you can’t ask for much more than that.