Mandela Day is celebrated on 18 July every year in honour of former South African president and apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. It was inspired by Mandela himself on his 90th birthday in 2008, when he urged humankind to come together to share the world's burdens.
As a business, there is no more opportune a time to make a name for itself than to make a real difference on Mandela Day.
If you would like your business to be an inspiration, remember to plan ahead to make the event effective. Planning can include asking your employees if they have any ideas and involving them in collections, deciding on a particular charity to aid or action to take part in, and collecting the funding or materials to fulfil your mandate.
Philanthropy is an easy thing to do because there are so many people and organisations in need but if you really want to make a splash, here are five things that will make a difference:
1. Adopt a school for the day.
This involves the company signing up to spend a day at a school, doing maintenance, improving the facilities in some way, or beautifying the school grounds. Depending on your selection, you could build a jungle gym, set up a library or science laboratory, donate technology, or even simply give the building a new paint job. Visit www.adoptaschool.org.za
2. Organise a blood drive.
A single blood donation can save three lives - through platelets, red blood cells, and plasma - making a real difference, particularly if those who take part in the drive are not regular donors. If you have more than 20 donors ready to commit, the South African National Blood Service will come to you. Call 0800 11 90 31 to arrange it.
3. Sponsor a guide dog’s training.
Either hold a fundraising event on Mandela Day to pay for a puppy’s foster home and training to be a companion or sign up to make a monthly payment. Visit www.guidedog.co.za
4. Buy books from a Hospice charity store.
Hospice stores are located across the country and raise money to care for terminally ill patients. Once you’ve bought the books, donate them to a library in an underprivileged area or school.
5. Throw a tea party for the children in a children’s home or in an underprivileged school, complete with cakes, sweets, and gifts.
You can even hold a fundraiser to donate some money to the institution at the end.
These are only suggestions, but remember to consider your employees’ input as they will be responsible for much of the work done on the day.