Blogs & Comment

Accountability for Community Investments

Today, more than ever, community investment managers need to be accountable for their investments in community organizations.
However, in my experience, most are not able to answer the most fundamental questions including: To what degree are the most high profile (and most costly) community partnerships seen to be of value by executives? To what degree do investments in non-profit organizations support corporate business priorities? In what ways are non-profit partners able to help engage and influence employees and key external stakeholders? In what ways could partnerships be leveraged improve their performance and value?
Without having the answers to these questions, accountability simply isn’t possible.
The days of using program summaries and press clippings from non-profits to justify large community investments are over. The difficulty is that putting values on outcomes that are largely qualitative isn’t easy.
So, what’s the best (and most cost effective) approach to establishing accountability for community investments? The first step is to ensure that both the corporation and its non-profit partner have a common understanding of the business and social criteria against which the program is to be evaluated. Next, I recommend holding conversations/consultations with internal and external stakeholders to gauge their perceptions of the partnership against the criteria that have been established. It’s not bullet-proof approach but it’s a lot better than what’s usually done.
As always, I welcome your feedback and ideas.
On May 26, Impaktwill be hosting apractical and interactive half-day workshop thats been designed specifically to help community investment managers improve the business impact of their partnerships with non-profit organizations. Ill be facilitating the workshop along with my colleague Jon Packer, President of the Idea Workshop.
One of the key benefits of this session is how the Impact Valuation Toolcan be used to improve reputation, increase differentiation and lift sales
All the details are available on the Impakt Learning Page.