The social context of businesses advocate that being involved with charity work is a strategy. It tells us that corporate social responsibility for businesses makes them look like two things, either they look like angels (pleasing stakeholders, generally) or, if you don’t buy any of that, they look like greedy corporations trying to just look good.

It’s the same principle with individuals. Much like businesses, we care a lot about image. If you pass a stall with donation buckets, the empathetic side of you feels obliged to contribute. I know a few too many people who are more concerned about adding charity work to their CV than the people who are interested in creating sustainable solutions or contributions for them.

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So why and how do we make substantial contributions to charity without seeming egotistical and, well, selfish? Most experiences I’ve had with charities, came around because of chance and opportunity. As Thomas Edison said, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”. The truth is, nothing will ever be handed to us and we have to think in order to make significant changes. This applies to charity work too, for anybody.

One experience I had was photographing the Colour Miles for Smiles (Operation Smile) 2015. A small contribution, but because of these images, people can view the documentation to prove the event was fun, successful and involved a lot of hard work. So, not only do people get to look back at pictures with their friends and family, they also got to understand more about the event itself, Operation Smile’s partnerships with a wide selection of businesses around Asia and involvements from International Schools around Bangkok.

For those of you who didn’t want to read all of that, the basic gist is that it’s about delivering the extra value to prove that you’re genuine. Without going the extra mile, you’re not proving you are offering something with sincerity.


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