Impact of Swift and Effective Response by Corporates During a Crisis

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Abhishek Humbad

In this modern era, a company’s bottom line consists not only of financial profit but also of the stability of socio-economic conditions in the communities the company operates in. We are noticing a shift from businesses defining success only in terms of money to businesses taking into account factors such as social responsibility and sustainability.

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic having taken the world by storm, many organisations have launched measures to ensure all of us get through the crisis together. Companies are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of this pandemic, with several companies actively looking for opportunities to spend their CSR budget for this cause.

Goodera’s solution to the problems that COVID-19 has brought with it is two-pronged: one part of the solution is using CSR capital to support and complement on-ground efforts by the government, medical institutes and social organisations, while the other is unlocking the power of the Indian workforce with employee-led donations and employee volunteering.

Channelising CSR funds for COVID-19 relief and rehabilitation is of paramount importance because of the threat that COVID-19 poses. With the virus spreading person to person, any measure to combat the virus will have to be implemented on a massive scale, which can only be possible through the CSR sector.

With COVID-19 testing the limits of our medical facilities, funding ventilators and other essential medical supplies like N95 masks and PPEs is a critical CSR expenditure that companies are taking up. Various projects can be implemented using CSR funds. These include the provision of medical supplies to frontline health workers, funding research into cures and vaccines, financial support to daily wage earners, and more. Other opportunities for using CSR funds include spreading awareness among the masses about the best practices to stay safe during this pandemic and providing financial support to those whose livelihoods have been adversely affected because of the countrywide lockdown.

Decisive actions can save entire communities. With massive awareness campaigns being executed in such a short period, all Indians are aware of how the infection is transmitted. Had there been a delay in spreading the message, the spread of the virus would not have been as contained as it is right now

With employees working from home, it is more important than ever to engage in good employee engagement practices, and virtual volunteering is quickly becoming a popular way to engage employees remotely. Virtual volunteering can also support the massive efforts of non-profit organisations in fighting the pandemic. These include supporting various NGOs who are tirelessly working on the frontlines and supporting the daily wage earners whose income has halted due to the lockdown, spreading awareness, teaching children missing out on school and solving the business problems faced by NGOs, Goodera is enabling its clients’ workforces to give back to the community even in these testing times.

Employee-led donations are also something that many companies are taking advantage of. These donations are typically tied to several NGOs that have been vetted by the company and support humanity’s efforts on the frontlines. Other organisations, like Rapido, are running a different kind of donation drive: one to support their employees in a time when the entire gig economy is shut down.

Moreover, corporations are undertaking these initiatives very quickly because, in a crisis such as this, every moment is precious. It is important to take swift action which can create a positive impact. With people’s lives on the line, there is absolutely no time that we can afford to waste. A delay in decisions or a delay in implementations can directly translate into a loss of life.

This is why choosing the right NGO partner is of paramount importance. The best NGOs in the country have been vetted by several independent organisations and follow excellent reporting practices as well as implement projects at a fast pace. Goodera has built a huge network of trustworthy NGOs that execute projects quickly and create measurable last-mile impact.

On the other hand, decisive actions can save entire communities. With massive awareness campaigns being executed in such a short period, all Indians are aware of how the infection is transmitted. Had there been a delay in spreading the message, the spread of the virus would not have been as contained as it is right now.

Ensuring peace, harmony and stability is not the responsibility of our government alone. It is the combined responsibility of every single citizen and every single organisation. As individuals, our roles and responsibilities are small and often very well defined, with the impact we create typically being limited to the ones close to us.

For organisations, the scope of impact they can achieve is much higher. Therefore, companies need to take a firm stand during any crisis and ensure that they protect the people around them. For the companies that have never implemented corporate philanthropy before, this may seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry; Goodera is here to guide you through the delightful world of giving back.

Abhishek Humbad is the Founder and CEO of Goodera, a CSR volunteering and sustainability platform used globally by corporations, foundations, governments, non-profits and employees to fulfil CSR, sustainability, and volunteering goals. Goodera is used by 200+ companies (including 25 in Fortune 500) to channelise 500mn+ CSR capital and 600,000+ employee volunteers to 40,000+ nonprofits across 90+ countries. Abhishek has been named as part of Forbes 30 under 30, MIT Innovators under 35 and is a leader in the evolution of responsible and sustainable business. He holds a BS in Engineering from BITS Pilani and received his MBA from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.