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Finding resilience and building cross-sector partnerships

date_range2020-11-27

On 25th November, saigonchildren’s Head of Fundraising and Communications Angelique Masse Nguyen spoke at Vietnam’s HR Awards 2020 about the successful partnerships that saigonchildren has had this year with various companies in different sectors, to emphasise how CSR and cross-sector partnerships can help companies find resilience and thrive through adversity. You can find her speech below.

 

As COVID-19 continues to rage, corporates face the urgent challenge of how best to contribute to the benefit of their employees, their customers, their communities and ultimately their businesses.

Cross-sector partnerships can help you tackle the effect of COVID 19 on our community. But they are different. You don’t simply hire an NGO or a charity, but by building a shared understanding you can develop common goals and a plan sharing risks, responsibilities and rewards.

By sharing how after losing $500,000 in pledged gifts, Saigon Children’s Charity was still able to help 30,000 Vietnamese in 6 provinces, engaging 30 corporates and more than 1,000 employees, I want you to find out how cross-sector partnerships will build your team’s resilience.

Saigon children’s charity is a UK charity working in Vietnam only, since 1992.

Every day we help thousands of children, from North to South receive the education they deserve, helping their families, their teachers, their communities to guarantee that every child grows up safe and happy. From building schools, toilet blocks, to awarding scholarships, from training teachers to building excellence in specials needs education, we help girls, children of ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, reach their full potential, to be part of the incredible economic development of Vietnam.

Our organization received the Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister of Vietnam in 2018, in recognition of its work for the economic development of Vietnam.

The organization’s benefit from the guidance of a skilled board of trustees. Alain Cany, Country Chairman of Jardine Matheson Vietnam, is our chairman emeritus. And we are lucky to welcome Mrs Trinh CEO of Talentnet among our 10 trustees that guarantee the best governance of our activities.

We publish every year our audited financial statement by KPMG to guarantee complete financial transparency of our activities, that you will be able to find on our website. We have at heart to offer our partners the opportunity to trace the impact of each dollar donated and earn their trust.

This year in February COVID 19 had an immediate impact on Saigon Children’s Charity. Over a two weeks period we lost 500,000usd in pledge gifts, as uncertainty landed and CSR budget cut, putting at risk 2000 children.

At the same time, we quickly saw the effect of COVID 19 on poor families. Our team of social workers was spending hours on the phone collecting data. More than 1300 parents shared how they lost their jobs, how they were not able to pay rent and could not afford food or water.

We were extremely concerned for all our students. How many of them would never go back to school? How many girls will get married? How many teenagers will have been lured by traffickers?

We had to work fast because our beneficiaries were struggling right now. We had to find solutions that were easy to implement, with immediate effect and the highest impact.

We were one of the first organization in Vietnam to launch an emergency appeal, asking for the support of corporates partners to join their forces with us to be able to support families in need of basic but essential support.

It’s corporates partners like Grobest, Standard Chartered, Dragon Capital, Temasek, Kone, Ezland, Momo and more that decided to join our effort to create a unique cross-sector partnership that has been able to help 30,000 Vietnamese, distributing emergency food packages, water, rental financial, online learning tools, online counselling session, supporting 8000 families across 6 provinces in Vietnam.

In total it’s more than 10 billions VND that has been invested in this emergency cross-sector partnership by more than 30 corporate partners.

But it was not all about money.

What we truly believe at Saigon Children’s charity is that cross sectors partnerships are not only, about giving money but can be built around skills or asset sharing.

For example, Manabie, an educational start-up partnered with us to offer hundreds of students an online platform so they can continue to learn during schools closure.

Cross-sector partnerships can also be built with multiple partners leveraging each of their expertise. And that’s how ANZ gave computers to KPMG for them to forensically clean them so Microsoft could equip them with the proper software and Saigonchildren donated them to disadvantaged students that could not learn online during the lockdown as they had no laptop.

Cross-sector partnerships can also be built around pivoting technology solution to resolve a technical gap, as we did working very closely with the MOMO team. By allowing us to use their QR code and payment solution at no cost, we were able to increase donations from individuals by 600%.

By building a shared understanding of the problem, by identifying the asset of each partner and our common goals, we were able to share risks, responsibilities and rewards.

Beyond the social impact for the communities, each partner has been able to see the benefit for their own team with increased productivity, creativity and retention of a purpose-driven new generation.

Do you want to attract talent, do you want to retain your team members, do you want to keep your employees engaged?

According to a report published by Forbes, 1 in 3 of workers who participated in a recent survey from the nonprofit Net Impact stated that they would take a 15 % pay cut in order to work for a company committed to corporate social responsibility.

Today half of the workforce is comprised of Millennials, like me.

Millennials not only are more likely to work for a company who is involved in issues that they care about, but that will actively research, look for, scrutinize what positions a company takes in regards to social issues and how much financial support they provide for those issues.

Within our emergency cross partnership, we developed different opportunities of engagement: from joining emergency packages distribution to hosting life skills online virtual workshop.

According to the size, skills, availability of each team, we created relevant engagement opportunities, of value for our beneficiaries and for our partners.

And we are ready to go the extra mile!  Lots of our partners shared how they were struggling to keep their team engage working remotely. And that’s why we launched the Virtual Steps Challenge. With the virtual steps challenge, companies could engage their team in a health challenge, trying to log as many steps as possible. And this was possible again thanks to a cross-sector partnership. We partnered with a start-up that offered us their solution to allow thousands of employees to join a virtual challenge converting steps into a donation to make sure that no kids were left behind because of COVID 19.

Building a partnership with an organization like us will allow you not only to communicate your social values to your team and customers but also to boost up their pride to be part of a company that strives for sustainability through community contribution. Intangible benefits are critical to keeping employees engaged with the company culture and being a partner with Saigon Children’s Charity or other can provide you with the platform you need to connect your talent with the sense of purpose they are looking for.

31.8 million workers aged 15 have either lost their jobs or have their working hours reduced in Vietnam. As Unicef shared, with the loss of income, parents are struggling to provide healthy meals or to pay schools fees. Children, including poor children, migrant children, those from ethnic minorities are the most at risk from violence, child labour, trafficking and abuse in this pandemic.

This crisis will affect children disproportionately with life-long consequences. These children are our future entrepreneurs, doctors and scientists, the talents of our future Vietnam.

Investing in children isn’t only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

When a company’s goals and priorities are balanced across communities, sustainability, and profit, it is capable of achieving great things.

But this cannot be done one by one.

It’s going to take everyone’s participation.

Building a strong cross partnership will build your team resilience and it can become your company survival plan.

Take a note now to see how tomorrow you can find a partner to rebuild at the same time your business and our community.

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