When did you last calculate your Return on Giving?

That’s right. Neither corporate philanthropy nor personal philanthropy on any recognizable scale can be sustained over the long-term without the givers doing a regular audit of where the funds went and what was achieved through the use of these funds. The purpose of social investment and business purpose if not aligned right from the start are likely to see a short-lived phenomenon of give and go away.

Perhaps it would be crass to say  this – but I will still say it  – that the value bestowed on the Brand through corporate philanthropy should be taken into account by the givers and recognised by the receivers. If managed well we can actually get on with filling the huge resource gaps in social development while pursuing a responsible, sustainable business model. Cynics will maintain that it is in the interest of businesses to invest in taking up living standards so that the pool of consumers grows and keeps growing. Realists should counter that unless the current economic model of growth is turned on its head, this is the only available option. NGOs should cooperate by seeing this as an opportunity to actually ‘manage’ social development and not just be seen as good for something but not much. Government should respond by changing whatever policy and regulations need change as quickly as possible. Commitment all round is what we need but so far it has only been words.

Fund utilization, project management, resource training —- the entire repertoire of business management concepts can now be used in a new direction. Companies have these skills but does their senior managementever get involved in the oversight of social development projects which they might be funding? Not likely.


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