A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 188 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, and Spanish t.me/RoscongressEsp. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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The Far East: How Can Socially Conscious Business, Non-Profit Organizations, and Media Partner to Improve the Quality of Life?
8 September 2022
10:00—11:30
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Non-profit organizations – and trust in organizations – are playing an ever growing role in society

I got the impression that in terms of actual financial input, companies are participating more in initiatives by non-profit organizations in the Far East than elsewhere in the country. This is probably down to an ingrained culture – in this region, socially responsible businesses take on these roles and take action accordingly — Anton Dolgov, Executive Director, Presidential Grants Foundation.

Thirty per cent of people in Russia trust non-profit organizations, 24% don’t trust them, and 46% are unsure. <...> If my memory serves, around five years ago <...> the level of distrust in charitable foundations was more than 50%. That was not long ago at all. The figure has more than halved. What does this mean? That’s your [non-profits – ed.] job — Ruslan Novikov, General Director, Argumenty I Facty.

Do you know what we used to say in the media? We always said, ‘We’d be happy to write about charity – about what non-profit organizations are doing, for example, but it’s got to be a tear-jerking story. That’s what our readers go for. We won’t report on all the rest, though, because our readers will ignore it. We have to earn money, after all. We’re a business too. What does money mean to us? It means readers.’ <...> Today, however, the situation is very different. It [the non-profit sector – ed.] is now an industry, and people – along with businesses – look at it differently. And that’s great — Ruslan Novikov, General Director, Argumenty I Facty.

Support for non-profit organizations from the public and private sector is growing year on year

Two years back, before the regional grant was launched, we had 875 non-commercial organizations. Today, that figure is 1,010. And each organization plays a very active role in helping to develop the social sector in Trans-Baikal Territory. <...> Last year, a competitive grant scheme by the Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory led to the allocation of RUB 45 million. This marked a historical first for us in the history of the development of the non-commercial sector. That kind of amount had never been allocated for the region’s non-profit sector before. And the figure for this year is RUB 60 million — Natalya Makarova, Director, Fund of Development of Zabaikalsky Kray.

The situation is such that today non-profit organizations are becoming part of the real sector of the economy. <...> We are trying to work out how to integrate non-profits in the economic development of Trans-Baikal Territory — Natalya Makarova, Director, Fund of Development of Zabaikalsky Kray.

We have reached a point characterized by problematization and attempts to develop a solution. We are looking at how we can work together to strengthen the association, share knowledge, and perhaps establish a coordinating platform for the non-profit sector. <...> We are also thinking about how we can make each other stronger within this established community of non-profit organizations in the Far East — Elvira Nurgalieva, First Deputy General Director for Social Development, Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic.

ISSUES
Several non-profit organizations are not ready for media exposure

In our experience, a lot of non-profit organizations approaching media outlets with the aim of getting noticed are not yet ready to be noticed in terms of infrastructure. That’s because as a rule, non-profits expect an influx of donations, growing awareness in their organization, and more opportunities to talk about their programmes and initiatives. But actually, the effect is rather different. What happens is that they get more people contacting them asking for help. <...> And a lot of the time they simply aren’t ready to digest this quantity of requests. That’s why we always ask any non-profit organization what the aim of their media activities is. We want to know what they would like to achieve as the result of a social campaign, interview, show, or anything else — Maria Zalunina, Head of CSR, National Media Group.

Businesses not only need to fund initiatives by non-profits, but their day-to-day operations as well

Speaking to businesses in all probability – I want to say that it’s crucial to move from funding initiatives to funding day-to-day operations. That’s because expertise simply cannot be developed against the backdrop of constantly having to find funding for an initiative or initiative-related activities. An organization’s day-to-day operations very much depend on how well its global idea and mission are financed — Marina Zubova, President, Founder, Gulfstream Charitable Foundation.

We need community leaders and non-profit organizations to highlight problems. And if a particular problem cannot be resolved through a grant, it may be that it is deserving of budgetary assistance from other levels — Sergey Dmitrienko, First Deputy Head of the City of Vladivostok.

Global instability is having an impact on numerous funds

I can tell you that the situation with our fund is not very good at the moment. Indeed, that’s because we’re experiencing a difficult situation in the country, a difficult situation in terms of falling living standards for many people, and a difficult situation in the business sector. In fact, foreign companies who have now left the Russian market accounted for a significant proportion of donations. So, things are not so simple, and not particularly great right now. It’s very good to hear that some organizations are in a better state. We are looking at the statistics, and at market analysis, and we can see that there are funds which are doing just fine — Ruslan Novikov, General Director, Argumenty I Facty.

SOLUTIONS
Businesses should not only find non-profits which are fully set up, but also take it upon themselves to cultivate others

A company decides there is another area which is vital to it. It develops regulations for a competitive process, and launches it, of course making it public ideally. You then get non-profits submitting their initiatives covering all kinds of areas, including culture, education, and the environment. Then the expert panel assesses them <...> and the best initiatives are selected and implemented. Later, we get a financial and analytical report. It’s a wonderful system of interaction which many companies employ — Natalya Gonchar, Head of Corporate Relations Department, Sakhalin Energy.

It seems to me that when it comes to partnership [between the non-profit and private sectors – ed.], there are two things to bear in mind. First of all, it is something of interest, and secondly, it is something that goes much deeper and is much more complex. Firstly, partnership does not just come out of nowhere with a snap of the fingers. Usually, it involves a long process of interaction – one where money is not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that there are shared goals and objectives which we realize cannot be solved by the private sector, non-profit sector, or sometimes the public sector alone. So, you end up with a trilateral or bilateral partnership — Natalya Gonchar, Head of Corporate Relations Department, Sakhalin Energy.

What should be done in a situation when a business sets itself up somewhere, and there are no well-established non-profit organizations with whom you are prepared to sign an agreement? That’s fine. To reiterate, we appreciate that partnership does not arise in an instant and at the snap of the fingers. In addition, we know that non-profits need to be cultivated, nurtured, and fostered until they reach the level at which they could potentially become our partners. There may be several pathways in this regard. The most obvious one consists of some form of education. <...> The most engaging and best options are those involving successful non-profits from other regions, say, which we invite to provide training programmes — Natalya Gonchar, Head of Corporate Relations Department, Sakhalin Energy.

Partnership between the public, private, and non-profit sectors needs to benefit all parties involved

Any work done by non-profit organizations in cooperation with other stakeholders – businesses, the media, and the state – of course needs to be structured in a way that benefits all parties. That’s because first time round, second time round, you’ll get them saying to media outlets, ‘Cover our news story – we’re so great, and are doing good deeds.’ But in terms of systemic operations, it will naturally not provide the result that the non-profit sector needs — Marina Zubova, President, Founder, Gulfstream Charitable Foundation.

Non-profit organizations need to work on public relations

The non-profit sector needs to be adept at a lot of different things. As well as doing something good, important, and necessary, expertise is being developed across a range of completely different areas. These include media relations, PR, and business relations. That’s because it’s vital to raise money, and this is a major, methodological undertaking by the non-profit sector as it seeks to develop ways of solving issues that the organization is focused on. And it’s crucial to assess how effective the organization is in its efforts to accomplish its overall goals — Marina Zubova, President, Founder, Gulfstream Charitable Foundation.

What needs to be done to make a difference? It’s vital for there to be a PR office, or a press office. When people hear about it, they realize what work is being done, and what is being achieved. That’s key, given the 160 news stories or so covered in the media a day — Ruslan Novikov, General Director, Argumenty I Facty.

Why is it important in principle to forge partnerships with the media? Because again, there is an entrenched belief in our society that good deeds should be done without bragging about them. Sow the seeds, and something will grow there by itself. Of course, this is an outdated way of thinking. It’s vital to shout about good deeds and initiatives – the louder the better. That’s because it helps you bring as many people as possible on board, and because social initiatives run in partnership with the media are of course invariably more effective than those without — Angelica Sulhaeva, Commercial Director, Komsomolskaya Pravda Media Group.