I was at Sunnyfield's brand launch event where social commentator and noted author Hugh Mackay spoke yesterday.
It was great to hear Hugh talk about the intention behind corporate giving. To paraphrase (badly): if a company gives, it has to do so because it is the right and good thing to do. As soon as a giving programme is wrapped in marketing, brand awareness and other bottom-line-centric agendas, it destroys and subverts the integrity of the act.
It does really come back to intentions. As Hugh puts it, The whole point of corporate citizenship is to be a citizen, to participate, to connect. If a company's sole intention is to simply make more money, this intention will shine through regardless of how well it is hidden behind CSR programmes and advertising. The authentic way of being is to give with the intention of giving.
With the current epidemic of money myopia, it is no wonder that 60% of Australians find big businesses untrustworthy.
(BTW I designed the new Sunnyfield brand, as a pro-bono community service.)