Realising the True Impact of Corporate Community Investment

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Realising the True Impact of Corporate Community Investment

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New @CCitizenship research shows gap btwn corporate aspiration & impact in #community investments #ImpactForChange
Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 11:30am

CONTENT: Article

Corporations spend billions every year on causes and in communities around the world, and many are talking a good game about how they are ‘transforming communities’, ‘raising aspirations’ or ‘improving lives’. However, new research published by Corporate Citizenship shows that many corporations may struggle to provide credible data to back up such claims, and know little about the long-term impact the investment is creating.

As part of ongoing research into impact, Corporate Citizenship asked corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners how they set their community investment objectives and whether they measure the outcomes. Over 130 sustainability and corporate responsibility practitioners from around the world replied:

  • Three quarters of companies said they aspire to achieve long-term impact with their corporate community investment;
  • But less than one quarter currently feel that their organisation is delivering on the promise;
  • This is because less than one in four are measuring their long-term impacts on the community and benefits to the business.

The report describes this discrepancy between what business seeks to achieve, and is able to deliver as the ‘impact-aspiration’ gap. Closing this gap first requires an understanding of why it exists.

Through discussions with companies that are members of LBG, the global standard for measuring corporate community investment, and the study findings, it is clear that the impact-aspiration gap is caused by confusion over how and what to measure. A lack of clarity over what to measure, a lack of a clear approach to measurement, and a perceived lack of resources are all creating barriers to effective impact measurement.

Corporate Citizenship’s new research report entitled Hard Outcomes or Hollow Promise? Realising the True Impact of Community Investment sets out out an innovative I.M.P.A.C.T. approach to ensure corporations close the impact-aspiration gap, by overcoming challenges and barriers to measurement:

  • Intent is about setting clear objectives
  • Map means understanding what’s currently going on
  • Plan requires setting the right measurement framework
  • Act involves carrying out the calculations
  • Consider means analysing and interpreting the findings intelligently
  • Tell is getting your message to the audiences that matter.

The report guides practitioners through the process to effectively measure community investment impacts, and to really make the difference their community programmes and investments deserve.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Corporate Citizenship website here.

An accompanying webinar ‘Community Investment: Impact Action or Impact Aspiration’ is taking place on Wednesday 25th May 2016. For more information and to register, please click here.