This story is part of the Initiative between Association Konekt and AmCham within the USAID’s Partnership for Giving Project, and is recognized as one of the Best Practices for Corporate Philanthropy.
Cosmic Development is an international IT services support company with operational units in Macedonia
and Serbia that provides tailor-made solutions to clients worldwide. Working in a go-to industry for the youth, we have had the privilege to have young talent as the backbone of our company. Thanks to the individual approach, we have created loyal partnerships with our clients and attractive and engaging career options for our employees.
Cosmic Development, as an international company with talent units in Macedonia and Serbia, showcases how outsourcing high-quality expertise means attracting and keeping bright, skilled, and reliable employees. In an industry active in the Balkans for over two decades, the leading workforce is Gen Y and emerging Gen Z. These people are young adults looking for more than just a job. Amidst competitive trends, companies must innovate to attract top talent. The fertile IT landscape provides an avenue for positive change and community engagement. Thus, our philanthropic focus revolves around helping impoverished families, youth-inclusive and educative initiatives, environmental responsibility, and promoting and supporting sports, especially young talents. Through lasting community investment, we foster a more compassionate society through education, inclusion, and employee-backed philanthropy.
This Practice as a Game-changer
Cosmic Development embraces philanthropy through employee-driven initiatives for substantial impact. The company’s distinct approach has been fueled by employee dedication, transparency, and sustained positive influence since its inception. In a word, our employees are our greatest asset. Thus, even in our ways of giving back to the community, our strategy is firmly connected with the unique variety of practices exemplified through five comprehensive pillars:
- Cosmic’s Aid for Families in Need
- Youth-Inclusive Initiatives
- Environmental Responsibility
- Employee-Backed Ideas
- Sports Sponsorships
The chosen practice aligns with our core ethos, integrating with our strategy seamlessly. We echo our belief in holistic growth by promoting philanthropy and community engagement. This practice embodies our vision for a better world, reflecting better individuals, families, workplaces, and society. Through consistent in-house action, impactful change is achieved.
The Transformative Journey
Every journey starts by taking one step at a time, and the transformation happens when taking a step becomes a habit, and so does our philanthropic voyage:
- Cosmic’s Aid for Families in Need: Cosmic Development aims to amplify care and support to underprivileged families, aligning with the company’s ethos of community upliftment.
- Youth-Inclusive Initiatives: This strategic choice aligns with our goal to cultivate a generation equipped for positive change. The company actively contributes to inclusivity and empowerment by supporting diverse educational and social programs.
- Environmental Responsibility: The company’s environmental responsibility involves engaging in eco-friendly practices and initiatives, resonating with Cosmic Development’s mission to nurture a sustainable future.
- Employee-Backed Ideas: The company fosters a sense of ownership and shared growth by encouraging and backing employees’ worthy ideas.
- Sports Sponsorships: Through sports sponsorships, the company not only supports young talents but aligns with its strategy of cultivating a positive company culture.
To realize these strategic goals, the company focused on integrating philanthropy into its core identity, encouraging employees to be active contributors to positive change. Steps included fostering an environment of openness, where employees could freely express their ideas and take ownership of community-driven initiatives. Next, the company partnered with charitable organizations, educational institutions, and sports clubs to ensure the effective execution of its philanthropic endeavors. Collaborative efforts allowed Cosmic Development to extend its impact beyond its immediate sphere and create lasting ripples in the community.
With the five-pronged approach, the outcome is a well-rounded and impactful contribution to society, ranging from direct support for families in need to fostering environmental sustainability, youth empowerment, and unity through sports. In essence, Cosmic Development’s corporate philanthropy strategy transcends traditional boundaries, aiming to create a better society by nurturing better individuals, families, workplaces, and communities.
Paving the Road towards Success
Cosmic Development’s overarching strategy involves a phased approach to ensure the realization of each pillar’s goals. In the short term (S), the focus is on immediate engagement and quick impact. The middle-term (M) involves deeper collaboration with external stakeholders to expand initiatives’ reach and effectiveness. The long-term (L) phase envisions creating systems of sustainable practices and initiatives, ensuring lasting positive change.
Pillar 1 – Cosmic’s Aid for Families in Need:
S: Identify the needs of local families in need through community engagement.
M: Collaborate with local NGOs to provide immediate relief through food, clothing, and basic necessities.
L: Establish a sustainable support system built together with local NGOs as a way to offer adequate aid in various formats.
Pillar 2 – Youth-Inclusive Initiatives:
S: Immediate support through various types of youth initiatives
M: Collaboration with schools and educational institutions for internships, workshops, and similar programs.
L: Incorporating regular practices into a system that will help youth to pursue their education further or enter the workforce
Pillar 3 – Environmental Responsibility:
S: Raise awareness and implement green programs within the company premises.
M: Partner with environmental organizations for tree planting actions, community clean-up events, and similar pro-environmental efforts.
L: Turn the eco-friendly practices into a lifestyle our employees will actively practice.
Pillar 4 – Employee-Backed Ideas:
S: Launch an internal platform for employees to submit innovative ideas for community projects.
M: Provide resources and mentorship to employees with approved projects, fostering their implementation.
L: Recognize and celebrate successful projects while continuously encouraging employee-driven initiatives.
Pillar 5 – Sports Sponsorships:
S: Immediate assistance for sports event realization and brand visibility.
M: Assistance of young talents, fostering a sense of local pride and positive employee morale.
L: Strengthened community bonds, increased youth participation in sports, and a sustainable, positive company image.
With the phased approach to achieving each pillar’s objectives, they are achieved through short-term (S), middle-term (M), and long-term (L) strategies. Here we explain further the Results (R)and Impact and Change (I&C) per pillar in the last 5 years:
R: With over 120 employees taking part, we have managed to provide immediate help to over 230 beneficiaries – impoverished families and kids providing them the needed help at the needed time. Help was provided in the form of clothes, food, school supplies, computer equipment in regular actions. In the middle-term, we have established collaborations and partnerships with over 18 NGOs, organizations and institutions with whom we realized the giving actions. To name a few, we have partnered with SOS Children’s Village, HERA, Ways2Help, Real Acts of Happiness, National Theatre – Bitola, among others. In the long run, we are going to establish a firm and continuous support system that will help us double our results in the next 5 years. So far, the company has distributed over 4000 euros worth of help for this cause and is actively equipping its employees to be involved themselves.
I&C: From providing immediate relief to beneficiaries, addressing their urgent needs, to strengthening the collaboration with NGOs we will have an increased community impact, reaching more and more families. Our ultimate goal is to equip underprivileged young people with bare necessities and means to improve their livelihoods, i.e., lasting positive change.
R: We supported over 15 youth-including initiatives, 3 internship programs, all with total youth outreach of over 500+ beneficiaries. From the initiatives we want to mention, Global Tech For Good – online webinar (2020), the one-on-one mentoring of a talented kid, protegee of SOS Children’s Village (2022) and our latest completed internship program with the Technical High School in Bitola (2023). We collaborated with the Secondary Schools and Faculties, the Municipality in Bitola and various organizations or more than 10 partners in total. The end result is through systematization of youth-inclusive initiatives to hit the mark of 80% of the youth to either pursue further education or enter the workforce.
I&C: Educated and inspired youth who are eager to thrive. With the provided practical programs, enhancing employability and career prospects. All in all, to build a more qualified workforce, driving economic growth and social development.
R: We started small, supporting a handful of employees in their lifestyle to use bikes as a way of transport to work or to take climbing and walking challenges. Next, we organized cleaning actions – the one we want to point out is our action in 2022, when the employees brought their kids and gave a hands-on example to them by cleaning together а popular picnic spot on Tumbe Kafe. We supported afforestation efforts through equipment donation and now we are going to join a project in collaboration with the NGO (Prolocal) and the Municipality of Bitola among other partners for the promotion of using bicycles as a means of transportation throughout the central area of Bitola.
I&C: Supporting employees in taking green steps to a cleaner environment and creating the company’s environmental footprint, by setting an example for others. Through the above we will reach a better local ecosystem and foster a sense of community responsibility. Last outcome is regular contribution to environmental sustainability, influencing wider behavioral change.
R: On a lower scale we’ve always supported initiatives for help to families and kids’ in need by our employees and as of 2022 when we donated 10 bags with food, hygiene products for the Infant Center in Bitola. Next, we have changed the prom experience of 53 impoverished girls (high-school graduates) with a gathered budget of 2,000 euros. Thus, we have introduced as a practice to choose and support at least one idea given by our employees since. Moving forward we will definitely go with a platform where our employees will be able to express more often their philanthropic ideas and hopefully we will be able to support more and more ideas each year.
I&C: Through encouraging employees’ creativity and sense of contribution we are aiming to reach a cultivated culture of social responsibility, driving continuous positive impact.
R: This is another practice that transformed from inside-out. Initially, we have always supported our employees to join sports challenges and endeavors. In 2022, we continued with support of actual sports events with young participants that needed support to take place. The most recent event that we backed is the 3rd Swimming Marathon in Prespa, organized by the Aqua Spirit Club – Ohrid. To date, our company put in almost 500 euros, and supported over 100 young pros and amateurs.
I&C: From getting enhanced brand visibility while promoting healthy activities to active contribution to a pool of skilled athletes, potentially leading to professional success. With our sports initiatives we aim to build stronger community bonds, fostering unity and well-being.
At Cosmic Development, our employees are our greatest asset; everything starts and ends with them. All philanthropic actions are deeply integrated with how we operate and work daily. All of the aspects we mentioned are inspired and built to give our employees the means to give back to society. On the way, we have faced challenges, and these are the lessons that we learned:
Pillar 1: The phased approach, with short-term relief, mid-term collaborations, and long-term system-building, allowed Cosmic to address immediate needs while establishing a foundation for sustainable change.
Pillar 2: Investing in youth initiatives and education proved to be a meaningful way to empower the next generation, contributing to a more skilled workforce, economic growth, and community development.
Pillar 3: Starting small and gradually expanding green initiatives, such as promoting biking and organizing clean-up events, showed that incremental steps can lead to significant environmental improvements while setting an example for others.
Pillar 4: Cosmic’s practice of supporting employee-driven projects showcased that involving employees in philanthropic efforts not only enhances their engagement but also leads to creative and impactful community initiatives.
Pillar 5: Supporting sports events and young athletes contributed to both brand visibility and community cohesion, emphasizing the role of sports in promoting positive values.
Lastly, for all causes, building partnerships with NGOs, organizations, schools, and institutions significantly expanded the scope and effectiveness of initiatives, demonstrating the power of collective action in making a broader impact.
Limitations Faced: Overcoming limitations like the uncertainty of the COVID period and financial and resource constraints. However, our phased approach allowed us to leverage partnerships and creative solutions to maximize impact.
Community Engagement: Reaching broad community engagement might have been challenging, but Cosmic got greater participation and support over the years through sustained efforts.
Environmental Mindset Shift: Encouraging employees to adopt green practices needed time to overcome inertia and inspire behavioral change, especially within a workplace context.
Youth Engagement: Ensuring sustained engagement of youth in initiatives required adapting programs to their evolving needs and interests, which required ongoing innovation and flexibility.
Sports Event Support: Helping sports events and young athletes demanded logistical coordination and overcoming administrative hurdles, demonstrating the importance of proactive planning.
By learning from these lessons and addressing the obstacles faced, Cosmic Development has continually refined its approach, enhanced its impact, and contributed positively to the community over the years. We look forward to setting an example of how any socially responsible company can rely more on its employees and, together with them, can take small steps that will make a lasting impact on the immediate community and society in a broader sense.