The Efficacy of CSR in a Post Pandemic World

Author: Amrit Elango
Last Updated: May 11, 2022 17:58
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The Efficacy of CSR in a Post Pandemic World

A new marker has been wordlessly set into our speech to mark when events take place. What used to be BC and AD has now become Pre covid and Post Covid. Such is the magnitude and spread of the change and challenges posed by the pandemic. Like everything else, CSR projects and businesses’ approaches to them must also change.

CSR, standing for Corporate Social Responsibility, is an opportunity for businesses to give back to the community/society that they are a part of. These projects aim at bringing about social impact to help the lives and livelihood of individuals in need.

The pandemic, however impartial in how it affected the rich and the poor, the more privileged members of society had the means to give themselves a fighting chance. This further increases the chasm between these two segments of society. A well planned and executed CSR project can find a way to build bridges over the said chasm.

Here are a few ways that CSR will need to change in order to do more in a post covid world.

 

More means to measure

Traditional CSR projects often stop at the allocation of the legally required funds towards social causes by funding NGOs, vocational training centres, etc. The measure of cost to social impact is very vague and is not given much attention. CSR is treated as the legally obliged and unwanted function of the business.

These traditional perspectives of CSR blind businesses to the wealth of opportunities offered by CSR projects. Check our article on the impact of CSR on brand reinforcement for better clarity on the opportunities for growth of the business offered by CSR.

Post-Covid CSR must keep financial stability and measurable targets as core pillars on which the project is built. Setting objective metrics to measure the effectiveness of the project such as financial, number of individuals impacted, etc make it possible to gauge the effectiveness of the project and in turn drive improvement to the project itself. The saying goes, “You cannot improve what you cannot measure”.

 

Family and Not a Stranger

CSR projects can often be seen as strangers in relation to the parent business that it is a part of. The CSR projects in traditional approaches seem to draw strength in being their own entity with separate principles and competencies. While this gives the project an individual identity it misses out on the benefits of the relationship with the parent company (beyond the financials). The lack of connection between the vision of the two also reflects the effort and involvement of the core business toward the CSR project.

Having CSR projects that line up with the competencies and principles of the core business helps in running projects that the business is specialized in rather than starting a project on the shoulders of external experts.

 

Steady Sharing of Organizational Knowledge

The learning and the knowledge gained in core businesses rarely find their way to the CSR projects and the flow of knowledge from CSR to core business is almost non-existent. This traditional system leaves the two parties to fend for themselves in the knowledge market. While the business might continue to survive, the CSR projects often struggle and look externally for the expertise. This adds to the cost and therefore tips the cost-effectivity balance towards the cost end even more.

Sharing the knowledge and expertise that the business has developed during the functioning of the core business provides the business with a new source of organizational knowledge This also gives higher marketability to both the CSR project and the business as they feed off the success of each other.

 

Cost to Investment

Traditional perspectives of CSR see CSR as a cost and are satisfied with it being so. The CSR project acts as an expense that does not (and is not expected to) generate self-sustaining revenue. Post covid CSR projects need to be self-sustaining in order to put a dent in the problem they are fighting to solve. An organisation's CSR fund acts as an investment that will be recovered and reinvested into the improvement and enhancement of the project.

 

Having CSR projects that line up with the competencies and principles of the core business helps in running projects that the business is specialized in rather than starting a project on the shoulders of external experts.

If CSR projects were to change, they would be self-sustaining projects that go hand in hand with the core business with the intention to bring about social change in the business’ sphere of influence.

We at Job Booster India embody this change by being a social Enterprise. Our core business looks to provide dignified jobs for the youth of the country. We provide employability training, and vocational training and show individuals the doors to multiple job opportunities. The revenue generated by our operations is reinvested into our efforts to bring job opportunities to places in the country that even public transport doesn't take us. We strive to break ground in areas where people are manipulated and oppressed by middlemen in their desperation to find jobs. Our knowledge base constantly grows, fueled by both facets of our operations and so helps us bring sustainable change to the society around us.

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