Today is #GivingTuesday, an international phenomenon to raise funds for a host of charities. Starting today until next Thursday, the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Proz.com hosts the #ProzComDrive, a special campaign to raise funds for a few charities that fight illiteracy and discrimination of people with a disability.
For the Proz.com Blog I wrote an article about the importance of translators for charities. In that article I list 4 important contributions translators can make for charities. In this article I will share 5 tips when you consider to support charities.
Choose a charity where you feel comfortable with
In a world where money plays an important role, supporting charities can create some excitement, particularly when you are new into volunteering jobs. It can be tempting then to support any charity that asks for your help. I did so some years ago and found out that it doesn’t work.
Charities and translators alike need to trust and believe in each other in order to create a working relationship. When you support a charity only for its name (out of vanity) or because you believe you should do so in order to reach your CSR goals, you will experience that there is no emotional bond with that charity. Without that emotional bond it will be difficult to support the charity on the long term. Think of it as a real relationship: when there is no mutual support and no emotional bond, the relationship will end sooner or later.
On the other hand, when there is a real emotional bond, you will go the extra mile for the charity and will even support it when there are troubles or when you’re being asked to do something you’re not comfortable with, like volunteering in a local nursing home or helping refugees. That will certainly feed some new excitement!
Make agreements about your contributions
Once you have established a relationship with a charity, you should make some agreements about your contributions. Are you translating everything for free? Are you available 24/7? And are you willing to do all the work they offer?
It is good to make clear when you are available and what you will offer. In the past I did voluntary work for a nursing home and agreed to donate three hours every Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, the nursing home called me on Thursday night, on Saturday afternoon and always with more work than we agreed initially. Such a relationship doesn’t work. There should be something like mutual respect. If you’re running a busy company, charities might not expect you to be available when they need you, but only at the times you mutually agreed.
Use your CATs
The workload a charity brings to you depends on the size of the charity, the team that’s available and the activities that are planned. If you’re doing translation work, use your CATs please. You can create a database with translations for the charity then while at the same time creating some continuity in the tone of voice and appearance – therefore adding some extra professionalism.
And of course you can always do a DTP proofing in order to make sure that your message is conveyed the way you considered while translating.
Share your knowledge
The professionalism of charities is varying highly. That shouldn’t be a problem when supporting a charity, but there’s always a chance to improve the presence of a cause. Therefore, share the knowledge you gain in your everyday work and help charities to improve their professionalism. You might consider to share feedback on the marketing practices or share best practices about medical texts, labels and leaflets. That way you offer charities a way to standardize and professionalize their work, so they will gain even more momentum in their work and in the progress towards their goals.
As with all clients you work for: be secretive. For some clients you probably signed NDAs and there’s a huge chance charities don’t expect you to sign that. However, charities are small businesses at their own and their successes can depend on the secretiveness of their volunteers.
Be a professional and don’t tell what’s going on when you’re not sure that it can be shared. The proud of your professional support should lie in the support you can offer, not in the gains you can achieve.
From December 1st to December 3rd, Proz.com organizes the #ProzComDrive to raise funds for SOS Children’s Villages, Concern Worldwide and Books for Africa. In turn, Pieter Beens is also donating 10% of his December income to a fourth initiative: Project Jedidja, a project to fight illiteracy and discrimination among disabled children in Guinea Bissau.
You can find more information and a chance to donate here.