He also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, said that NGOs should pursue profit-making opportunities that dovetail with their core purpose, rather than unrelated ones that can simply make them a buck. CSR departments, said Risz, are essentially albatrosses created by corporations that are transparent and ultimately ineffective.
"It's a defensive act," he said. "It is an apologetic effort." Instead, he said that companies should find ways to expand their business to the underserved masses, citing examples like the Indian bank ICICI that provides microfinancing loans to rural villagers.
"There is increasing blurriness" between the two traditionally opposed extremes of nonprofits and profit-making companies, he said. Though he acknowledged that communications challenges can arise when a corporation is perceived as letting charity infiltrate its core business, or when an NGO is perceived as selling out to corporate interests, he told the assembled crowd of PR pros that that's where they come in. Get to work.
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