KATHMANDU: A successful business house thrives not only on its profits and brand value but also the social initiative it takes up. And the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wings of corporate houses in Kathmandu are busy sponsoring charitable causes all through the year. The visible aspect of CSR is a corporation’s willingness to promote and support communal, national, and global causes. However, CSR activities are all part of a larger corporate strategy — cause marketing.
Cause marketing is actually a cooperation agreement between corporate houses and the non-profit organisations. One such business house involved in social initiatives is Mega Bank. With high profile charity events such as ‘Afnai Maiti — A Tribute to CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala’ and ‘MEGA Bagmati Jal Jatra’, the bank has strived to make an impact through its social initiatives. “Mega Bank
recently organised its second ‘Mega Bank Photo Competition’, for which it was the title sponsor,” informs Dipesh Khadka, assistant relationship officer of corporate affairs at the bank. Mega Bank Photo Competition 2068 was the biggest event of its kind with total cash prize worth Rs 400,000, which was open to amateur and professional Nepali photographers. It was co-organised by Photojournalist Club (PJ Club), a non-profit organisation promoting photojournalism in Nepal.
Cause marketing can provide
positive and creative publicity for companies. “Since we’re also the partner bank for Lions Club, we
get a lot of visibility during their
annual convention. The flow of people at this convention is high and it’s a great way to promote our bank through banners and stalls we put up there,” says Khadka.
However, some companies might not want the publicity at all. “Our social initiatives are not merely done for marketing or publicity purposes,” claims Rupesh Joshi, executive manager, Buddha Air. Among other causes, Buddha Air has funded seed money to start Smallholder Agribusiness Support (SABS) in Tankesinwari and Hattimuda VDC of Morang district with the objective of helping to reduce the debt burden of farmers. However, Joshi stresses on the fact that the company does not over publicise their efforts.
For publicity or not, bad planning can make the effort go to waste. To plan a successful charity event, the company first needs to set criteria on which kinds of charitable organisations they want to support. Both Buddha Air and Mega Bank’s executive bodies go through the proposals sent in by various organisations and upon consultation with department heads, choose those that best represent the company’s belief and goals.
Then the company should realise how much money or resources they intend to raise and work with that goal in mind. Taking adequate time to prepare for the fundraising event is also critical. Selecting fundraising programmes as early as possible gives time for extensive research. Companies will need ample time to collect materials, assemble a team of assistants, and advertise their fundraiser. It is a good idea to come up with novel fundraisers — so enterprises should think outside the box. They should also make sure people have a good idea of where the money is going; it is crucial for establishing trust for any company or brand. In the end, the success of cause marketing depends on the interest and policies of both the bodies.