As we commemorate World Kindness Day today, the essence of giving to the needy resonates more profoundly around the world because of the present precarious state of humanity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Celebrated annually on November 13, the World Kindness Day encourages people of all races to attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organisations.
Since its launch in 1998 by The World Kindness Movement, an organisation formed at a 1997 Tokyo conference, the World Kindness Day has been largely propagated by like-minded kindness organisations in over 28 countries that work towards inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness. This year, the state of the world makes it a pursuit for every one of the over seven billion people on earth.
In Nigeria, the world’s most populous black nation, First Bank Nigeria Plc has assumed the leading position in the promotion of kindness in the society. The leading financial institution has been up and doing in various ways through a flotilla of Corporate Social Responsibilities projects. In light of today’s commemoration, one of its projects, SPARK, is especially pragmatic as per how to spread the milk of human kindness across the populace.
Launched in 2017 as Staff Promoting Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK) the initiative was subsequently expanded to encourage everyone to donate to humanitarian causes, and thus renamed Start Promoting Acts of Random Kindness.
As we commemorate the World Kindness Day, SPARK by default is apt and ideal as a platform to awaken national consciousness on the need to act within individual spheres of influences to promote kindness. As a giving initiative, it focuses on creating and reinforcing a mindset of showing empathy, as well as giving to others.
As a giving platform, SPARK, a crowdfund that pools small contributions from a large number of people to fund different causes, accepts donations from both the bank’s employees and its as well as other stakeholders. Such giving which can be derived through payroll deductions or one-off donations as affords donors the ease and convenience of making their donation using their computers, smartphones and other electronic devices, and their credit cards, debit cards or digital wallets.
SPARK has far-reaching ramifications. It provides First Bank with an opportunity to mobilise additional funding for corporate responsibility and sustainability projects. Since the past three years, the initiative has been yielding donations that have been utilised efficiently in the bank’s committed areas––such as the education of young people, catering to widows, and children, elderly and people living with disabilities–– and donors specified areas interests.
One of what makes SPARK an effective platform is its innovative feature that allows easy tracking of progress in activities to which donations have been committed. Such transparency, combined with ease of making donations and the halo of shared responsibility, imbues SPARK with the clout to inspire people to commit to giving to make a difference.
However, SPARK, while it encourages random acts of kindness, is not a random project from First Bank; it is an extension of its well-calibrated CSR programmes. This year alone, the bank has executed an unprecedented number of CSR programmes with far-reaching benefits: from its e-learning solutions to empowering of youth; from facilitating innovation around education to donations to the less privileged and orphanages; from donating to widows and old peoples home to supporting those living with down syndrome and other health issues, First Bank has been there, back and front. But there can never be enough of giving.
Through SPARK, First Bank has unlocked an ingenious formula that helps solve the equation of how to propagate kindness as a shared act of random kindness to people from all walks of life, including students, teachers, neighbours, colleagues, family and friends, virtually anybody and everybody.
And by inviting the public to donate to a good cause through a publicised account ––SPARK – 2032375514––the initiative automatically takes the “OUR platform for giving to society” that anyone can relate to. It couldn’t have come at a better time than now when the new normal is everyone helping everyone else.
First Bank’s CSR initiatives seem to hit the chord rightly. With the SPARK initiative, there is something surreal about on this day November 13: Could there be a better, action-oriented slogan for World Kindness Day than “Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness?”
Culled from CSR Reporters