Deem Cares!

This is a long overdue blog post, both because the CSR Armenia Blog has not been updated in a while and also because event in question took place about a couple of weeks ago.

During Q&A sessions, I’m often asked what small businesses can do in the area of CSR and community involvement (with the ‘asker’ usually assuming that I’m going to shrug my shoulders and smile sadly). Obviously, the answer is ‘a lot’, but now I’m happy to have this specific case up my sleeve as a real-life example from Armenia (and another one as well, in a future blog post).

The Deem Communications team came up with Deem Cares, a great initiative focusing on employee volunteering and community involvement, aimed at the development of entrepreneurship in Armenia. Long story short – the Deem team volunteered as waiters at The Green Bean, another great company in Armenia (and one that, from a CSR point of view, deserves a blog post to itself  – hopefully coming soon!), providing an English breakfast to all guests on 10 February 2013 for free, in exchange for a donation from the customers. The donations were to go to Homeland Handicrafts (yet another great presence in the Armenian CSR environment).

The eventual beneficiary was Samvel, a disabled craftsman in Margahovit (the Mount Ararat jigsaw in the picture above is his work and was given as a raffle prize at the end of the Deem Cares event). I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but everything was well thought out – the money was not going to be handed to the man but was used to buy him some necessary machinery. Samvel is working with Homeland Handicrafts, so he’s in a system where he already has buyers for his work. Plus, he is supposed to train and prepare a couple of more craftsman, thus multiplying the effect of the project. Deem Communications, Homeland Handicrafts and The Green Bean crossed their target and eventually collected more than double, raising 233,000 AMD (around $570, for those of my readers who are outside of Armenia – yes, I’m talking to you, mystery reader from Hawaii :)).

So,  like all good CSR initiatives, this is about mutual benefit – Homeland Handicrafts improves the working conditions of one of their beneficiaries, Deem Communications involves staff in a good cause, improving motivation levels and teamwork. Plus, any encouragement of entrepreneurship and small/medium business is to the benefit of Deem, which provides business services. All the sides get a lot of great publicity, while doing something of real benefit to the community – this is not just empty PR or ‘greenwashing’.

It was great to be a guest at this event and contribute. Here’s to everyone involved – Homeland Handicrafts, The Green Bean and, of course, the Deem team!

This entry was posted in Case Studies, CSR in Armenia.

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