Title: Mentoring as One of the Ways of Corporate Social Responsibility
Facilitator and room number: Anush Ovsepyan (Big Brother Big Sister, Sankt Petersburg) & Xenia Panayot (a mentor of BBBS); 1.403
Documented by: Linda Dickhof
Number of participants: 11
Who are you and to which institution do you belong?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia is the part of Big Brothers Big Sisters International, one of the world’s most effective individual mentoring programs whose mission is to help children who need support. We work with orphans, foster families, socially disadvantaged families and children with disabilities in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia is Non Governmental Organization whose aim is to provide children in difficult life situations with an individual mentor who can share knowledge and real life experiences with them. We help children to realize their potential and to build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities.
The facilitator introduces mentoring as a new model of social activity and the starting question is: Are there any creative ways and cases to support mentoring as part of corporate social responsibility?
Sequence of content/methods:
The session was based on interactive tools of discussion and brainstorming. After a presentation of the projects of corporate social responsibility in Russia, which were realised to support the BBBS programme, and the experiences of the mentor Xenia, the participants were invited to think about possible creative projects and events. Each group was assigned a field of work.
Main arguments presented by the facilitator:
Anush stressed that the case of charity organisations in Russia is different, because they don’t get enough support from the government and that’s why the projects are only financed through fundraising. Therefore, they must be creative in their daily work to raise money and awareness. The mentor Xenia explained that the Russian society in general doesn’t trust in charity organisations and that usually to work as a volunteer without being paid is not seen as something positive. The cases of corporate social projects in Russia, like the Big Music Marathon 2016 in Sankt Petersburg, where a Russian pianist played 24 hours to support BBBS, demonstrate that it can be very creative and that those projects really work.
Main points of discussion:
The groups presented their ideas on creative social projects for the fields art, hospitality, finance and IT. They came up with many ideas of possible cooperation between charity organisations and companies. For example, they discussed about a partnership with a museum, which can be used for the training of mentors and networking nights or a cooperation with individual artist on a pro bono basis, so that they could raise awareness. Other ideas were offering internships for mentees or mentors and developing a long-term involvement of the company employees.
Results of Session:
The group stated that in the cooperation between a company and a charity organisation there should not be one commercial part and one non-profit part, but they should work as partners and develop the cooperation on equal conditions. That will be the future for a successful cooperation.
Main statements highlighting the results of the discussion:
While discussing the role of the companies, one participant pointed out, that the employees of the cooperating company should want to be involved in the mentoring projects and that it should not only be about using their name for fundraising. On the other hand, another participant said that charity organisations have to think more like a business, because there is a kind of competition between the organisations. In the end the group agreed that there are a lot of creative ways to develop a cooperation between a mentoring organisation and a company.
One thing that was laughed about:
The participants laughed, when Anush talked about the cooperation with the famous cook Jamie Oliver.