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How to Give Back During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 17, 2020

In times of crisis, whether natural disasters, wars or in this case, the coronavirus pandemic, our inclination may not be to give back. Instead, we batten down the hatches and hope and pray that it will all be over soon.

However, what if we thought about crisis differently? What if we took this time to define who we are as a community and as a country? Or more specifically for our clients, what if we used this time to define our brand, our values and our core competencies?

While we are still in the thick of this pandemic, we must have the lens to look forward, because as communities, the faster that we are able to recover, the more beneficial it is for everyone.

What can your company or brand be doing right now to join the conversation, without appearing like you are capitalizing on this situation?

Check on those that are most vulnerable right now: the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, those that have traveled.

Make sure your employees know you see them and care for them, especially those that could be impacted differently than others—those with children that are out of school for the foreseeable future, those that have elderly parents they are worried about, and those with different health conditions that could make them more susceptible.

How can you give back without leveraging finances?

We understand companies are worried about the economy now, especially nonprofit organizations, so we have put together a number of ways you can give without taking a financial hit.

If you have the bandwidth, offer up your talent resources: acknowledge what groups don’t have equal access to news right now in their first language, and if you have a team member fluent in that language, offer to translate relevant and helpful announcements.

If your company has Skyping capabilities or teleconferencing software, lend that tech out to those in need.

There are ways to virtually help without being on the front lines, because frankly, we are all being asked to stay away from the front lines.

What if we can help with tangible goods?

Your company or brand may be perfectly poised to offer goods or services to impacted people during this time. But we must think—will we appear mercenary if we donate goods now? Will we be leveraging this horrible situation for our sake?

Our advice to you is, help how it’s helpful. If you have a product that you think would offer some good now, what you can do instead of the “drop and dash” method is ask nonprofits and organizations that are on the front lines what they actually need. If they believe the good or product would be helpful, then work with them to get it properly distributed where it is needed.

You must also ask, is there actually a need for us to join this conversation? If not, then it may be best to stay out of the conversation for reputation’s sake.

What can we do locally?

Every city and community has an emergency task force. An easy thing to do now is to give them a call and ask what the needs are in your immediate community. Again, if you think your company or brand is poised to help meet those needs, then engage. If not, then perhaps stay out of it.

Why is this important? Why would caring about social impact right now be good for my brand?

Hopefully we will be entering the recovery stage of this crisis soon. Around the world, different countries and communities are in different phases—China, for example, has come over the peak and is moving into recovery. Being engaged in the recovery phase from a CSR perspective can only help your brand because, again, the faster we are able to recover, the more beneficial it is for everyone. If we remain stagnant, it will stay that way for a long time. It’s important for us all to consider how we can aid in the recovery and rebuilding process.

Having a defined CSR strategy, no matter the circumstances or the state of society, is important. During this time of uncertainty, making sure your company or brand is certain of who they are is one thing you can hold onto.

God willing, this too shall pass. Don’t forget to be human during this time—check on your neighbors, your coworkers and your local cashier who has witnessed the pandemonium firsthand as people flood the stores. We at Sunwest hope you will stay well and stay safe. You are our neighbors and you are in our thoughts.