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Charity – No Longer a One-way Street

Adam Dickens Photography 2014 - Deki Uganda 577

I have long been an advocate of giving back as a core business strategy. At its best, creating shared value can mean that your business benefits from the different skills, background and experience that a charity organisation or NGO brings, while you in turn contribute your expertise and time to make a difference.

All of which is hugely important when companies need to attract and retain the best talent (see the Deloitte 2015 Millennial survey results), fight harder to keep customers happy for longer, and continuously invest in brand reputation.

I would be surprised if you didn’t already have some way of giving back as part of your company culture. But there is a new trend emerging which offers a true win-win.

The world of micro finance for entrepreneurs in developing countries is growing in much the same way as crowd funding is in the UK. A small amount of money is pooled and given to an entrepreneur, who repays the loan over a 6-12 month period. The money can then be withdrawn or reinvested.

A great example of this is Deki, a charity that ’empowers people living in poverty to create sustainable livelihoods by providing access to ethical microloans and training’.

In their ‘Tenner Tournament’resized for mc 2, teams compete with each other to turn £10 into as much profit as possible. It promotes team-building, entrepreneurialism and project management skills. But Deki don’t just send over some guidelines and sit back and wait – they offer the training and team building framework that means the activity serves as so much more than an exercise in CSR.

Bryony Spooner, Marketing and Communications Director says:

Through carefully designed group and breakout sessions, your employees receive tailored training from Deki staff. Participating teams will turn £10 into as much profit as possible. The group with the largest profits after one month wins. The simple concept encourages team work, having fun, discovering new skills while helping break the cycle of poverty. Not only will the Tenner Tournament training make a real difference to the quality of project development and management in your business it will impact the livelihoods of people in some of the world’s poorest countries. 100% of the profit your teams generate is loaned directly to Deki entrepreneurs chosen by your staff.

So far, as part of Deki’s ‘Bristol Businesses Against Poverty’ campaign; partner organisations include Ocean Estate Agents who have pledged £10 for every house sold or property let, Friska – a restaurant that has a ‘Deki dish’ on the menu, and Ecosurety (photo above), whose MD James Potten said the challenge presented “an opportunity to achieve both charity support and excellent training for staff.”

Adam Dickens Photography 2014 - Deki Uganda 577Better still, employees get to help entrepreneurs like Lydia in Malawi, who took a £140 loan to invest in her cow’s ability to produce more milk, the proceeds of which support her children’s schooling. Or Halima (right) from Uganda, who as a result of expanding her business with the loan, now employs people in the local community.

There are many ways in which you can partner with charities, and align your business to maximise the shared value these partnerships offer. Deki is just one example, but one that I think offers a very easy and yet valuable way to get tangible value that goes well beyond the feel-good factor.

For more info: www.deki.org.uk and follow Deki @Deki_charity. If you’d like to partner with Deki, email bryony@deki.org.uk.

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