Community Relations, Investment and Development: Socio-economic Development
Gone are the days when companies were shaped solely by their primary objectives to maximise profits for shareholders, with virtually unfettered powers to do so without taking responsibility for their impact on society and the environment. In fact, business is no longer viewed as separate from society, but as an integral part of its development, well-being, and continuing stability and prosperity.
The prevailing view of ‘business in society’ has been in the corporate spotlight, globally and locally. Increasingly, companies are expected to respond – either voluntary or through regulations and legislation – to a range of non-traditional business imperatives and responsibilities. This trend has particular significance in the South African and Africa contexts, where business is explicitly called upon to contribute to national development goals through various pieces of legislation.
Through their community relations (CR) and corporate social investments (CSI), or socio-economic development (SED) strategies, companies aspire to achieve a lasting and positive impact on society.
There have always been expectations that business must meet in terms of its contract with society. These are linked with the freedom to operate and to be successful in a sustainable way.
There are significant shifts occurring in social and community expectations, which businesses need to take into account, along with the financial pressures relating to markets, shareholders and stakeholders. Many companies are operating in new or more global geographies where stakeholders have unfamiliar expectations and these explicit or indirect expectations are creating an even more complex dynamic.
CSI in the African business context
Africa has inherited a legacy of inequality, division and suspicion. Poverty remains the number one challenge facing the continent and this continues to inhibit socio-economic development in many areas. The future of Africa and the prosperity of its citizens can only be realised if there is a collective hope and belief among all Africans that they can indeed share in the continent’s prosperity.
The private sector is vital to this realisation and thus it is every corporate citizen’s responsibility to recognise the diverse and varied socio-economic needs of African communities. It is also therefore their responsibility to play an active role in supporting Africa’s economic transformation and bring economic benefits to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
When done effectively, corporate social investment, socio-economic and community development can generate great benefits for the company as well as the social causes it supports.
We support our clients in making their CSI more effective through our end-to-end consulting process and our unique frameworks, guidelines and methodologies which provide a comprehensive solution. Our extensive experience is this area is widely recognised.
Our CSI, SED and community relations, investment and development services include:
- Strategy development, integration and implementation – including grantmaking process development, operational management, and programme management and implementation
- Peer review, industry and sector comparative research and benchmarking – including social baseline surveys, impact assessments, and programme and focus area research
- Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessments
- Community relations, stakeholder engagement, analysis and dialogue management
- Communication, marketing and reporting
- Employee involvement program development and investment
- Development of logical framework processes and systems, and theories of change
- Facilitation, coaching and mentoring, training and motivation
- Impact assessment and determining return on investment