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According to the influential Edelman Trust Barometer, 75% of people agree that a “company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions of the communities in which they operate. It’s no wonder then that companies are increasingly being questioned about the contribution they make to the communities in which they source, employ as well as distribute products and services.
The idea that businesses flourish in vibrant societies is not new – the business case for strategic philanthropy and corporate community investment is widely documented, with clear benefits for both the company and communities. Still, many businesses face challenges around its measurement and reporting.
Businesses are spending millions of dollars on corporate community investment. Yet research by Corporate Citizenship points towards an ‘impact-aspiration’ gap: three quarters of companies aspire to achieve long-term impact with their corporate community investment but less than one quarter currently feel that their organisation is delivering that due to confusion over how and what to measure.
So what steps can companies take to overcome this scepticism and advance their measurement and reporting?
Focus one the data that matters.
Pick the statistics which best showcase your impact and tell your story.
Talk about the impact – the changes your contributions make for the communities and for the business.
Include testimonials. Include photographs and videos capturing moments and work in action to illustrate the real lives of the beneficiaries and the contributions of your employees and business.
Keep your message simple.
Ensure you are getting across your key messages through the right channels to reach target audiences.
This approach to reporting has led to some scepticism towards corporate community investment with it being perceived as an altruistic add-on, disconnected from companies’ core activity.