by Scott Cameron, President/CEO
Community investment strategies are tools designed to support corporate social responsibility initiatives. Simply put, a well-designed community investment strategy helps corporations to align their corporate values with their community initiatives, provide a framework for distribution of resources, and an evaluation plan to determine whether their corporate values are being realized through those investments. bassa Social Innovations specializes in the development and implementation of community investment strategies - we make it our business to understand your business and translate that into positive community change.
Developing a community investment strategy
Not unlike corporate investment strategies designed to guide growth, capital development and operations, a community investment strategy builds on the corporate plans and helps to align community objectives with that of the company. While a community investment strategy would certainly provide insights into the decisions about sponsorships and donations, the strategy should also guide the manner in which the company interacts with the community's where they operate - always seeking opportunities to position company resources and operations with community interests and needs.
A strong community investment strategy is built on the foundation of community and corporate engagement. Understanding the values and mission of the corporation is critical in this process, followed by the process of gathering input and insights from key community stakeholders. A well-designed community investment strategy clarifies purposes and processes for your corporate social responsibility plans - ultimately resulting in a strong foundation for decision making and use of limited community resources. A strategic plan also identifies opportunities to leverage corporate image by partnering with existing programs, services and funding sources.
bassa Social Innovations recognize that community investments are rarely the primary interest of a corporation - you have a business to run. At the same time, a well-managed community investment plan and portfolio involves more than reading through letters of request and cutting a cheque (grip and grab photo ops aside). A community investment strategy articulates why certain decisions are being made, how these decisions will be made, and as importantly, what difference these decisions are making in the lives of individuals, families and the community.
Implementing a community investment strategy
The relationship between a corporation and bassa Social Innovations can range from planning and development to full implementation and evaluation. Depending on the implementation process designed in the development phase, bassa Social Innovations can advise, recommend, or even manage a company's community investment portfolio. Based on decades of implementation experience, bassa Social Innovations can work with company personnel in a multitude of ways including facilitation of implementation processes to direct delivery supports. A key relationship in the implementation process is with the corporate communications team - companies need quality information about their community investment strategy to generate the goodwill and public awareness of their efforts. As process and content experts, bassa Social Innovations can supply communications staff with subject matter, leaving the communications tactics and design to the experts within the organization.
Evaluating a community investment strategy
bassa Social Innovations believe that evaluation is critical in the ongoing implementation of a community investment strategy. As a design element within the strategy development phase, ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the corporation's community investments is critical - without it, how are future decisions and actions to be made? The ongoing monitoring and evaluation provides companies with important preventive information as well - investing in an organization that is struggling to achieve results, or incapable of delivering on their intended outcomes can be a waste of resources and, in some cases, cause more community harm than good. bassa Social Innovations can play a critical role in sifting and sorting through requests, allocations and service delivery. Further, strong monitoring and evaluation is supported through effective and timely reporting. This reporting provides company communications departments with critical content for briefings, public service announcements, social media and annual reporting.
Getting it right
A strong community investment strategy provides companies with confidence and assurance that valuable community resources are achieving positive results. Not unlike the key performance indicators used to measure core business operations and decisions, outcomes are used to determine similar measures relative to community investments. bassa Social Innovations provides you with that confidence and assurance.