“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” (Nelson Mandela)
Nelson Mandela, our former president and world-renowned human rights champion, was born on 18 July. Fondly known as Madiba or Tata, his life was an inspiration to the world and he received more than 250 public honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
Why Mandela Day and why 67 minutes?
In recognition of his immense contributions, 18 July was declared Nelson Mandela International Day by unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly in 2009. It is more than a celebration of his life and legacy; it is a global movement to honour his life’s work and to change the world for the better.
On his 90th birthday, Madiba said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all.”
This call-to-action started a worldwide movement for social change, led by the Nelson Mandela Foundation which said: “Nelson Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years, beginning in 1942 when he first started to campaign for the human rights of every South African. By dedicating 67 minutes of their time – one for every year of Mandela’s service – people can give back to the world around them and make a contribution to global humanitarianism.”
No matter how small your action, Mandela Day is about changing the world for the better, and celebrating the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.
Top tips for making an impactful contribution
- Align your company’s contribution with your vision and mission
- Focus your contribution around your product or service or expertise
- Make it a long-term commitment with an authentic contribution that will have a lasting impact
- Focus on your company’s immediate community
- Include your staff from the start
- Collaborate – invite your suppliers, clients and even competitors to participate in your 67 minutes initiative
- Advertise and market your 67 minutes initiatives – on your website, in the local newspapers and on social media using the hashtag #MandelaDay.
Ideas for Your 67 minutes
Madiba himself believed that education is what makes the greatest impact. He said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
For many companies, offering scholarships, internships, apprenticeships and mentorships is an excellent way to help change the world while reaping many benefits, including tax incentives and access to well-trained future employees.
Businesses can also simply contribute to the official Mandela Day Each1Feed1 campaign or join in a community initiative.
Companies can also link into the Mandela Day Global Network, a community of organisations, government, corporates and individuals that partner with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to drive Mandela Day and pursue its objectives. It is a base for the strategic partnerships of organisations with common goals aimed at globally coordinating efforts, sharing information and linking the needs to resources.
There are so many ideas…
- Dedicate 67 minutes to brainstorm and plan your company’s formalised contribution going forward
- Give your staff 67 minutes of paid time off work to support a charity or organisation of their own choosing
- Spend 67 minutes as a team painting, cleaning and maintaining a school, clinic or library
- Take 67 minutes to clean up the street or the local park, or volunteer to help out at a soup kitchen or animal shelter
- Kick-off a project to plant 67 trees or a community garden over the coming year
- Host a fundraiser such as a breakfast, fun walk or even a golf day to raise funds for a local cause
- Donate your 67 units of your products, service or expertise to a start-up company or a local charity organisation
- Pledge to donate R67 for each R50 raised for a cause by employees, clients and suppliers
- Donate 67 blankets, food parcels, rugby or football kits, bicycles or computers to a school, church or a local organisation
- Make company resources, such as delivery vehicles or computers, available to organisations when not in use (e.g. over a weekend)
- Host a party for emergency workers and volunteers, or treat a group of underprivileged kids or the elderly to a fun day.
What are the benefits to your business?
Social contributions improve not only the lives of the project’s beneficiaries but also of those who are involved –
- Creates an opportunity to link your business to a cause aligned with your corporate identity and business strategy
- Improved brand recognition through association and positive media coverage
- Placing your company in a positive spotlight improves corporate reputation and creates a competitive edge with regard to attracting and retaining investors, clients, suppliers and employees
- Increased customer loyalty: consumers are attracted to companies that contribute to a greater cause, as it allows them to feel they are making an indirect impact just by supporting your company and brand
- Higher employee satisfaction: a common cause for the greater good is an excellent way to bring employees together to make a difference as a team.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.