Blogs & Comment

Community Investment and Accountability

In the context of increased scrutiny of expenses in all areas it’s important for manager to understand how to best demonstrate and improve the returns on their investments in social issues and community organizations – especially as needed to be accountable to executives.
Here are a three key questions that community investment managers should be able to answer:
Do you know the degree to which your company’s community investment reach and influence the stakeholders that matter most to its business? In addition to formal market research, there are many informal approaches including email questions to key customers, conversations, etc.
Do you know the value of your company’s most important partnerships with NGOs? The difficulty here is trying to juxtapose quantitative inputs (i.e. cash) with outputs that are often qualitative (e.g. employee engagement, social impact, etc.). Managers should identify the priority objectives for major partnerships and, at the very least, gather anecdotal evidence that provides some evidence that key partnerships are delivering results.
To what degree is your company’s community investment program generating secondary costs for communication (i.e. external activation costs, internal costs related to communication, etc.)? At a time when all expenditures may be re-examined, managers need to demonstrate that they are leveraging existing internal communications and getting additional value from NGO partners who are able to reach key stakeholder with and through their organizational and program communications.
Ultimately, these are questions that executives will ask and community investment managers need to answer.