Why 67 minutes is just not enough

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 18 July 2018 3:30 PM CAT

As I write this on the eve of Madiba’s centenary, and as many South African organisations rally their teams for their 67 minutes of contribution, I have to stand up and say, it’s just not enough!

For some, their one annual foray into the world of charitable deeds is on this day, and for many corporates seeking the ‘poster child’ of their activity, I find myself questioning whether is it possible that you are in fact doing more of a disservice. I know many of you out there are shaking your collective head in disbelief, in the social media echo chamber of goodwill and good deeds.

But take a step back and apply some hard-core objectivity. Remember the picture of the white jeeps that swoop down into places of desperation, only to feed for today with possible starvation tomorrow. The white jeep approach is a poor and short-term heuristic, often leaving only the providers feeling rewarded.

My good friend, Michael Judin just published a thought-provoking piece, Developing the social fabric of companies. In the article, he alludes to conscious leadership as the foundation of a conscious culture.

If we place concepts of social fabric and consciousness, further coupled with the creation of shareholder value, under the microscope, we may discover that 67 minutes does not fit the equation.

There are many recipients out there only too grateful to have the attention on the day, as they fight for a diminishing piece of donor grants, and hard to come by lotto funding, not to mention the donor-fatigued public.

It is the brave and savvy organisations that will stand up and say ‘no thanks, not unless it’s sustainable’. As part of a newly formed NPC called AWiA, African Women in Agriculture, who were tasked by a corporate to set up a vegetable garden for a crèche, we anticipated recipients beholden in their gratitude but they graciously said, ‘If you cannot make this sustainable, we cannot accept it. We don’t want to let you down”. Fortunately, AWiA’s model is a sustainable one that sees us building women-owned farming enterprises, not just planting vegetable gardens.

So tomorrow when you read to youngsters, play with babies, take sandwiches to nursery schools, take a little time out to think about who will read or play with them tomorrow?

Social fabric is an ‘always on’ concept. 67 minutes is just not enough!

Janice Scheckter, collaboration activist is MD of Indigo New Media and co-founder of AWiA

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