With everything that is happening around the world, it is sometimes easier to just focus on yourself and forget about everybody else. But cliche as it may sound, no man is an island. No matter how much we ignore what is happening around us, we have to be involved, because if not, Mother Nature will have its ways to make us notice.
The pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg. Natural disasters have long existed that continuously affect everybody, rich or poor. As published in the Insurance Information Institute, “There were 980 events that caused losses in 2020.”
This means that home and real estate owners, together with business owners have been hit by natural calamities and suffered losses. But the silver lining is that they are covered with insurance. But what about people who cannot afford a property, much less an insurance policy?
Poverty and privilege
People living below poverty line are much more vulnerable when these disasters hit. Vulnerability in this sense factors in “the characteristics of a person or group and their situation that influences their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from the impact of a natural hazard,” as defined in the Population Reference Bureau.
This only means that people living in underprivileged communities have a lower capacity of preparing for calamities, and this in turn causes said communities to be mostly affected by natural events.
This is where privilege comes in. In a document from the University of Central Arkansas, privilege is said to be “characteristically invisible to those who have it. The absence of privilege triggers our awareness, not its presence.” The lack of privilege and opportunity is only felt by people who do not have it, and those who need to struggle every time to survive.
Privilege is having a one-up advantage over other people. For example, let’s say you have a steady source of clean water. That is a privilege you do not usually notice. You will only realize that this is an advantage once you see communities in underdeveloped nations struggling to have even basic human needs.
Privilege also means that because you do have an advantage in life, it is also an opportunity to help.
You and your business do not exist in a vacuum. Society is where you find people to sell and consume your product or service. Suffice to say, we all belong in this world and while enjoying the benefits of living in it, we must not forget to give back.
Helping the underprivileged allows you and your business to have a deeper meaning beyond earning profit. A lot of companies have employed a socially responsible business model that allows profitability while considering the impact the organization has on the people and the planet.
According to Harvard Business School Online, several successful organizations that have implemented the said business model include Ben & Jerry’s, Levi Strauss, and Lego. These are big companies that you might think have a bigger capacity to help.
But even small businesses can help in little ways. As simple as recycling and being more conscious when it comes to producing less waste can have a positive impact on the environment. Simple fundraisers for the benefit of your community can be a great idea, too.
If it takes too much time and effort to organize such activities, donating is also an option. It is very easy to reach out to organizations that pack food, water, and medical supplies. All you need to do is bring what you can and these organizations will take care of distribution to communities that need these the most.
Engage your employees and customers
Being involved in charitable activities not only gives your company a great image, but it also boosts the morale of your employees. It gives them a sense of purpose beyond earning and going to work from opening to closing.
This creates a great impression on your customers as well. It encourages them to support your product or services because it is hitting two birds in one stone. They get to purchase the product or get the service they need, at the same time, they also get an opportunity to give to the less fortunate.
Having a business is not all charity work though. The reality is, you still need to be practical to gain profit. Thankfully, the IRS somehow gives leeway to organizations that support charities through tax deductions.
The IRS website has a list of approved charitable organizations that you can check if you are planning to support a cause. These IRS-approved institutions should be able to issue a tax form for you to get the tax deduction and claim it on your tax return.
The bottom line is if you can help, do it. Kindness is always right, and during these times, we need more of it.