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Givers gain

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Readers,
The above two words are the motto of an international business network and it resonates so much with Christmas – the season of giving. Yet how do we give? Who to give? So many in need and so much to be done. These are real questions and donor fatigue is a growing issue. After all there is only so much that one person can do or so goes the argument!

These pages, since its inception six months ago have been addressing these very same questions. Instead of making “giving” a sacrificial ritual, can we incorporate it in our everyday lifestyle, our daily buying routine? Our purchasing power is enough for us to make a difference. I am sure our household budgets will dwarf even the most generous charitable donations we may plan to make. That being the case should we not use our money for maximum social impact?

People who are challenged – financially, physically, mentally and even emotionally do not need a hand down, they want a hand up! And it’s not difficult, just see the many examples presented every fortnight, including today. They are quite capable of finding ways to be useful and contribute to society, they just need some support and a chance to prove themselves through employment or enterprise.  Sam is just one role model for what an independent and persevering spirit can achieve. He actually created a whole new business model and income stream for a multinational – how innovative and win-win can that be!

Trade, I believe too can be one of the key drivers of economic development. The India Shining story makes us all feel good but what is the ‘trickle down’ to those at the base of the economic pyramid?  There is still insufficient awareness in India among the general public, as well as policy makers about what really constitutes Fair Trade and ethical business practices. It is time consumers start questioning the source of goods they purchase or the processes by which services are rendered to them. Then only will charitable donations be a secondary solution to poverty alleviation and conscious consumption and impact shopping may well be ‘the’ tool for inclusive development and growth for all.

The Bible tells us that ‘It is in giving that we receive’. During this festive season of joy and goodwill, may you in home or at office, discover the magic wallet, credit card or purchase order that allows you to give while you buy!

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!
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