The UAE is a rare and perfect example of a CSR-driven nation. The humanitarian vision of our leaders, particularly His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has inspired the launch of numerous initiatives that are designed to enrich the country’s social and philanthropic activities, including the ‘Year of Giving 2017’, the national ‘UAE Volunteers’ platform and the upcoming ‘Year of Zayed 2018’. Charity is an essential part of the UAE’s culture, stretching well beyond Ramadan to encompass year-round efforts, and in this inspiring and community-spirited environment, I believe it is all the more imperative that organisations embrace Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The impact of CSR is usually divided into three levels. The first level is a basic one that involves organisations paying their taxes, observing the law, and conducting their business fairly. The second exists at the organisational level, where companies minimise their negative effects and act as the spirit of the law. The third level is the one which concerns us because it describes organisations that embrace their social responsibility to alleviate suffering and support communities.
The balancing act with this type of CSR is to marry impactful activities that have meaningful results for society, with a clients’ business strategy and goals. With all of our other PR activities, we are focused on delivering real results for our clients, and this is equally important when creating CSR programmes. This requires PR professionals to think cleverly about how to pair clients with the right charities, how to align their philosophies, and how to create a mutually beneficial situation where both the client and the charity are supported by the campaign.
According to the American writer, Henry David Thoreau “Goodness is the only investment that never fails”, and in the next part of my blog, I will explore how we can create win-win CSR campaigns that deliver ROI while also achieving wider societal goals.
Reem Masswadeh is Account Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. | www.cbpr.me