Building, Education and people are all things that we think are massively important, which is why we have fallen a little bit in love with PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools); a charity which not only builds schools in Uganda (our favourite sub-Saharan country) but operates something akin to a PFI model to ensure that the educational quality is consistent and long lasting. They also have a fully qualified engineer employed to check the build quality of the locally employed workforce.
Constructing Equality Ltd is making PEAS our global charity of choice, and here are 5 compelling arguments as to why you should too: –
- CSR (Company)
- Bid Winning (Procurement)
- Adding Value (Your People)
- Legacy (Impact)
- That warm fuzzy glow (You)
CSR – Or Corporate Social Responsibility, is all about making the things your company does matter to society as a whole. Giving resources, whether that is a platform, time, materials or even cold hard cash, can show your company off as an organisation that is seeing beyond its profit margins. Of course there will always be companies that dabble in CSR to hide a multitude of sins, but done right it’s a tool that can be very effective for image, brand and employee satisfaction.
Bid Winning – If you can tie in your charitable endeavours with the projects you are running, there may be a chance they can help you to win bids. For example, PEAS are looking into a couple of construction-specific models that include a pen-pal scheme for companies involved in building schools, children’s hospitals and other municipal buildings with a focus on young people. For the right donation they can even set up a computer facility for the African schools to use social media instead of the somewhat out-dated pen and paper methods. Whilst it shouldn’t be the sole reason a bid is successful, we all know in the current climate that these little things can help a lot.
Adding value to your staff – Research shows us that we are happier and more productive at work if we are allowed to volunteer, or at least contribute to the charity process. However we have to be careful that we are not forcing people’s arms – but getting involved with others is often a key motivating factor, as was seen on the Olympic village with their volunteer reading programme. It might be a bit much to send staff to Africa, but these principles apply to any volunteering endeavour – we just particularly like the PEAS one.
Legacy – If for example you sponsored a PEAS pen-pal programme for your work with building schools – with the right support, that’s a legacy that can remain long after 12 month defects. And whilst that might not look like a tangible benefit, it can mean a lot to clients, not to mention the final point…
That warm fuzzy glow – Being nice to other people makes us happier. Lots of people have looked at this and found it to be true, not least Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes; it gives more joy than a Scrooge McDuck-style pile of cash in a vault! (Although not as much security, I agree – you should probably ensure you have that first.)
Overall though, the PEAS model has been found to be more beneficial than sponsoring an individual child. Having built a school in Uganda back in 2005, I personally believe it’s a thoroughly worthwhile endeavour.