Several months back, I was fortunate to interact with an international humanitarian worker, who introduced me to a very interesting term- Corporate Social Opportunity.
What I found interesting is that the word ‘opportunity’, unlike ‘responsibility’, seems less like an obligation, is more voluntary in nature and creates a belief in the organisation to ‘do more good’.
Over the past few years, brands have increasingly begun to realise the importance that CSR can play in influencing its key stakeholders so much so, that it has led to the emergence of a new area called ‘Cause Marketing’.
Today’s consumers have access to so many options and information about brands that they have begun to choose brands that are associated with a cause. Thus, the challenge for a brand lies in identifying a cause, which is strategically linked to the organizational operations.
The CSR program of a brand progresses through different stages in its life cycle, starting from Corporate Philanthropy to Creating Shared Value or Integrated CSR, at the top of the pyramid.
For a business to have a clearly defined CSR program, there needs to be high involvement right from the level of the COO, whose organizational vision needs to get translated into building the CSR strategy. And to ensure that the program is delivering on its intended objectives, there needs to be a periodic reporting & review.
Being in the business of providing a financial lifeline every day to thousands of migrants across the globe, the decision for Xpress Money to venture into CSR despite being just a 14 year old brand, was no accident. In 2013, we launched our CSR program called H.O.P.E. which stands for Helping Our People & Environment, with the intent to consolidate our efforts under one umbrella.
Several MNCs adopt CSR strategies which are linked to international resolutions like the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
At Xpress Money, we know that every migrant strives for growth, be it on a personal or professional level. Our CSR program, therefore, identified ‘growth’ as a singular platform, based on which we arrived at 3 focus areas being Education, Financial Literacy/Livelihood programs and Relief Work, which fuel this objective.
Through our Education platform, we have been able to reach out to several thousand children across countries like India, Nepal & Philippines, by supporting projects ranging from reconstruction of dilapidated classrooms to paying school fees for students, who are unable to afford it on their own.
We have also associated with local NGOs in the GCC region, to provide Basic English and computer classes, as well as conducted financial literacy training sessions for blue-collared workers.
Compassion is at the heart of all our CSR initiatives and we are quick to respond to people in distress be it during the numerous typhoons in Philippines or the recent earthquake, which crippled Nepal. Depending upon the chosen program’s nature & scope of work, we have also tied up with international NGOs or decided to execute it ourselves, with the support of our teams on-ground.
Being a young & vibrant team, we follow the CSR trends around the globe and are also constantly on the lookout for interesting projects, which can further develop the communities in which we serve.
Written by – Mr. Rahul Krishnakumar, Manager – Marketing Communications & CSR