Giving Back to Society – A Welcome TrendAnil Birla | September 30, 2023
In today's dynamic world, the daily grind can often overshadow the broader societal canvas we're all a part of. However, an emerging and encouraging trend over the past few years has been a growing focus on giving back to society. According to the Charities Aid Foundation, global giving has increased, with many countries witnessing a rise in the percentage of their populations who donate. This emphasis, evident in both individuals and businesses, speaks volumes about evolving human values and the changing paradigm of what success looks like.
The Innate Drive to Give Back
From ancient civilizations where community thrived on mutual support, to today's globalized world, the human instinct to help has remained robust. Now, with the amplification powers of technology and communication, awareness about global issues has skyrocketed. A LinkedIn report noted an increase in volunteering activities listed on user profiles, showcasing this heightened consciousness nudging many towards meaningful actions that make a difference.
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Their Influence
The United Nations’ 17 SDGs, established in 2015, serve as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. The UNDP reported an estimated annual investment of $3 trillion in 2020 dedicated to achieving these objectives. These goals have illuminated the path for nations, businesses, and individuals, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts. The SDGs underscore the truth that societal progress is intricately linked with environmental and economic factors. And as more entities align their giving-back strategies with these goals, the dream of a sustainable and inclusive world seems increasingly achievable.
Rise of ESG and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria have revolutionized the way businesses operate and invest. A Morgan Stanley survey from 2020 found that 85% of individual investors expressed interest in sustainable investing. Companies that follow ESG principles focus on more than just profits; they measure success by their impact on the world. This has naturally extended to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). No longer a mere checkbox, CSR has become a core part of modern business strategies. A study by Cone Communications revealed that a majority of consumers align their purchasing decisions with brands resonating with societal values. This has prompted corporations to proactively participate in initiatives that support community upliftment, sustainable practices, and overall positive societal impacts.
Individual Contributions: Beyond Monetary Aid
While financial donations play a crucial role, the spirit of giving back encapsulates much more. From volunteering to offering pro bono expertise, the avenues to contribute are numerous. Platforms like Catchafire, which connect professionals willing to share their skills with nonprofits, have bridged vast socio-economic gaps, creating pockets of growth and empowerment.
The Power of Grassroots Movements
Historically, and even today, grassroots movements hold immense transformative power. For instance, campaigns targeting sanitation have achieved rapid increases in rural sanitation coverage in select regions. Tailored solutions arising from community-driven initiatives ensure that change is not just profound but also sustainable. As these movements align more with the UN's SDGs, their potential for global impact multiplies.
Benefits of Giving Back
The act of giving nurtures a sense of fulfilment and unity. For the giver, it's a journey to the "helper's high," a state of happiness stemming from acts of kindness. For businesses, all data suggests that a significant portion of global consumers prefers sustainable goods, suggesting that giving back not only boosts brand image but also caters to market demands, motivates employees, and opens up new growth avenues. For more on this, read our earlier blog on How Doing Good Can Be Good for Business.
The trend of giving back, further amplified by global objectives like the UN's SDGs and principles like ESG, marks a promising shift in societal dynamics. We're moving from isolated efforts to a global, concerted push towards a better future. It's a beautiful reminder of our shared destiny and the interwoven fabric of humanity. As we inch closer to a world where giving back is the norm rather than the exception, we can hope for a future that's not only prosperous but also inclusive and sustainable.
For those looking to give back, whether as individuals or corporates, consulting firms such as Vardaan offer expert guidance on strategy and process to ensure your philanthropic goals are successfully achieved.