We all know what it means to be in business, you do your daily stuff with the aim – and sometimes hope – that it makes money, that you can actually bring in a decent living and take care of yourself and even a family if you have one. In recent years many companies have started taking a more holistic approach and have begun to look at or have actually started corporate social investment programmes – a means of giving something back to the community which gives them their livelihoods. In some cases it is nothing more than a public means to assuage a troubled conscience through heightened public awareness of the good deeds, while in others it is a genuine attempt to make a difference in correcting some or other social failing. Some do it in a very public way and others simply do it because they consider it the right thing to do. Large companies finding the right cause or charity can sometimes prove difficult. Companies need to find a programme that they can identify with or that speaks to the community in which they are active. Simply selecting a random organisation which has little relevance is pointless. For the smaller companies working out how to make a difference is something of a daunting task. These companies do not feel that they can make a difference because their ability to something is limited by their size, turnover, situation, location or various other factors. On the other end of the spectrum there are individuals, groups and organisations looking for help but do not know where to turn for this assistance. What is required in both instances is a go-between, someone who can help companies to find ways of assisting, whether this be directly or as part of a collaborative effort and who can bring those organisations looking for assistance to the attention of those who want to give it. The team at Sentient Publishing has come up with a possible solution to this dilemma – The GAPP Village, an initiative which offers that solution. Said Sentient Publishing CEO Vikesh Roopchand, ‘We have, at our fingertips, the best resource possible, The GAPP magazine. Through the pages of the magazine we can facilitate the bringing together of those who need help with those who can offer it. ‘There are many superb and special corporate social investment (CSI) programmes being run by companies active in our market. We give coverage to those and we do not want to detract from their efforts in the slightest. However, there are many companies, some which are small like us at Sentient, who want to help but do not know how. We want to offer them a vehicle to be able to start their own CSI programmes. We will give those companies a means of finding worthwhile causes that they can partner with and, we will help causes find sponsors. We commit to publicise every request for help or offer of assistance free-of-charge.’ The GAPP Village will be a community effort which, through the pages of The GAPP magazine, is designed to bring people together. The community will be made up of members of our industries – Graphics, Advertising, Print and Packaging. The idea is to offer companies within these sectors the means of finding charities or causes which need help. It may even result in a number of smaller companies working collaboratively to pool their resources in order to help on a larger scale or in a more concrete manner. Once the different parties have been brought together, The GAPP magazine, under the banner of The GAPP Village, will publicise the endeavours giving the companies the recognition they deserve for their efforts and illustrating how the recipients have been helped and their endeavours rewarded. The GAPP Village will be a national endeavour and will be open to any company or person in the market sectors covered by the scope of The GAPP. Said Roopchand, ‘Organisations looking for help will obviously require different types of assistance and, while money maybe the most popular request, that is not always possible for those companies who are looking to provide help. We would encourage people to think a little outside the box and see if there are other ways that they can help each other. Printing, signage, website creation, these are all valuable commodities which many charities would be only too happy to accept. You do what you can to assist and we will give you the publicity to bring your endeavours to light. And who knows, you may be able to attract other partners to your cause and further improve the plight of those you are trying to help.’ So, send us your details or your ideas and we will put them in the magazine and we will try to help you find the right charity or organisation for you to work with. If you know of an organisation which is looking for assistance we will try to find the perfect match. Also send us your success stories and we will tell the entire industry what you are doing and maybe inspire a few more companies to undertake their own CSI projects.
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