PR and social responsibility

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“We are the good guys!” This is how we often view ourselves in relation to our actions. It is necessary to consider our actions when we want to create positive change in the world. Many activists and non-governmental organizations claim to be moral, honest, and authentic. The founders of Google described themselves as "the good guys" when comparing themselves with the "bad" monopolies like Microsoft, Yahoo, or AOL. What is Google now?

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[edit] Are We the Good Guys?

We need to be able to question our influence and impact. Authors like Orysia Lutsevych observe that many countries are a "NGO-cracy where professional leaders use access to domestic policy-makers and Western donors to influence public policies, yet they are disconnected from the public at large. Download While the author is not against social organizations, she emphasizes the fact that organizations need to consider their societal relevance, and they should be able to address real citizens. Some questions we could ask ourselves might be:

  • Which aspects of our involvement have a positive impact on society?
  • Are there discrepancies between our behavior and the moral criteria that we expect of "big politics" and "multinationals"?

Secondly, we can ask ourselves how we can change:

  • How can we have a bigger impact?
  • What can we do to become more sustainable?
  • How can we broaden our circle of supporters (by involving more people and partners)?

[edit] Accountability

You can think of negative examples of organizations and projects that have different values than you. Holding yourself accountable is a way to keep your public image intact. Being accountable means being transparent in how you reach your goals. The following reporting standards could be inspiring.

[edit] The Basis: Your Values

To participate positively in society involves demonstrating values such as respect, community spirit, cooperation, and democracy. Civil society is also an attitude and a way of taking action. Sometimes we need civil courage and need to become active even though passivity is more comfortable or less dangerous. People who act in civil society do this through civic engagement, which is characterized by the following qualities:

- Acting voluntarily (this excludes being forced)
- Supporting the common good
- Acting publicly (this excludes private parties with friends)
- Acting cooperatively

Another essential topic deserving discussion is:

- Not making a profit.

For certain activists, it's clear that payment would be contradictory to the nature of their voluntary work. On the other hand, it is difficult to argue that social entrepreneurs are not legitimate actors of societal improvement deserving payment. Your society wants to know what suits your project or organization and how you follow these principles in your everyday work.

[edit] Type of Responsible Involvement

Another framework for analysis offers the functional tasks that projects and organizations have in society.

[edit] Complementary Services

A fundamental task for organizations, enterprises, or other agencies is providing complementary services that are not provided by the state (e.g. caring for homeless). However, critics argue that these services should be the state’s responsibilities and that civil society should not be required to provide them. .

[edit] Watchdog

Another function of civic involvement is to control the state and businesses as a watchdog representing the critical public (e.g. trade unions control working conditions in companies or Transparency International).

[edit] Advocacy

Advocacy is another function of civic involvement. Advocacy means encouraging the state to act in a certain way through support for certain issues, such as implementing stricter environmental protection laws. Companies can also attempt to influence citizens’ and state’s actions.

[edit] Self-empowerment

This means people organize themselves to act with respect to their concerns. People with a specific disability meet and motivate each other. People repair their bicycles in local non-profitworkshops.

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