Leading Transformation in CSR Strategy: FSG and CECP Guide

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – CSR leaders and corporate foundations experience implementation challenges as they attempt to move from an initial strategy to leading change. Legacy expectations, inadequate capacity, organizational inertia and other strategic choices are some of the obstacles that can slow progress in strategy.

To help these leaders overcome the challenges and advance their CSR strategy, FSG in partnership with CECP has released a learning brief titled “Advancing Strategy: How to Lead Change in Corporate Societal Engagement.” The guide provides best practices and tools to enable corporate foundation and CSR leaders to apply structured, data-driven processes that can transform their corporate societal engagement portfolio.

Designing a Signature Initiative

Advancing Strategy suggests that companies can shift from generosity in philanthropic giving to setting and achieving specific societal impact goals aligned with the business. Key practices include:

  • Lead a structured design process to develop a business-aligned signature initiative
  • Prioritize specific intervention approaches by analyzing the landscape of strategic options
  • Engage with partners in new and different ways to co-create and implement programs

The guide cites the example of AB InBev, which built a customized Intervention Matrix to choose the best options for its new global signature initiative focused on road safety. The design process helped AB InBev co-develop the “Together for Safer Roads” initiative, a private-sector global road safety coalition that now includes over a dozen multinational companies.

The guide provides another example of the SAP North America CSR team, which incorporated an authentic partnership development approach in developing its signature initiative focused on creating pathways to technology careers. This partnership provides students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in a discipline related to business technology.

Transforming Local Giving

Advancing Strategy emphasizes that companies can better meet their business goals by evolving from local giving constrained by headquarters priorities to local giving that reflects local business needs and context. Key practices include:

  • Liberate local giving to better meet needs of local operations and communities
  • Reallocate local giving across communities to reflect differentiated geographic priorities
  • Build local team capacity to develop context-specific investments in their communities

The guide gives the example of GE Foundation’s recently developed health-focused effort in Boston, which included a structured signature initiative design process. As GE was planning the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Boston in 2016, the GE Foundation made a five-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to support education, health, and workforce development in the local community.

It also describes how Cargill has recently shifted from broadly investing in education to partnering with local collaborative efforts and other players to invest in specific issues related to the local achievement gap.

Source and Image: FSG