CSR in India has come a long way since 2014, when it was first introduced, moving beyond cheque book charity to addressing some real issues in social development, and creating space for a new CSR leadership that envisions how the companies can help attain our social goals faster. Some of these are expected developments and some other suprising ones. How do NGOs and Corportates prepare themselves to leverage these?
Sharing a few key trends in CSR and my personal observations on it, both from a Corporate professionals and NGOs perspective. I have referred extensively to the Bains Report and CSR/NGO Box Report to get you some key statistics and gleaned from expereince are my insights
C-Suite sees value in CSR
It is heartening to see the rising interest and compliance to the CSR mandate. Companies are realizing the value of contributing to social causes and the creation of trust and shared value. Social sector funds have grown at a rate of 11% over the past five years! CSR budget outlays of domestic corporations and contributions of corporate charitable trusts, combined, have grown at a rate of 12% between FY2014 and FY2018, and they contributed approximately INR 13,000 crore to social sector funding in FY2018. Number of projects have increased by 25% from last year. Contribution to PM Relief Fund has gone down by 80% from FY15-16 to FY 17-18. In this context it is important to note that Maharashtra Karnataka and Gujrat received 25% of the funding.
The rise of cause marketing, where brands are associated with a cause definitely increases brand salience and surveys have found that employee loyalty also takes a positive turn with volunteerism, it’s a great engagement tool. Companies like Brillio have done that very well. P&G’s Shiksha and Tata Salt’s girl child campaign are great examples.
The above trends definitely indicate acceptance of the C-Suite !
PSU’s and aspirational districts –Reaching the grassroots
Public sector companies account for 1/4 of the CSR spend. Some of them are doing great work in uplifting communities they work in. The Niti Aayog has identified 112 aspirational districts. Thematic programmes, as per new guidelines issued by Department of Public Enterprises are clear and the PSU invest in such programs. This accounts for 60% of their expenditure. For example current year 2018-19, school education and healthcare may be taken up as the theme for focused intervention. Most of them align to a process where the District magistrate sends a proposal based on needs which is okayed by PSUs after due deligence. Some have ben allotted certain identified aspirational districts as well.
Pleasantly surprising trend
Philanthropic funding from individuals remains the brightest spot. The segment has seen strong growth—21% per year in the past five years. This means that NGOs need to look at this segment seriously and this is a whole new ball game! Cultivating individuals is different from engaging with Corporate representatives of CSR. Individual fund raising is popular in the US through Charities and Galas, but that is yet to gain ground here. Maybe fund rasing Heads of NGOs should look at it seriously this year?
But, With social start -ups gaining ground there this funding will definitely will see tough competition. Some of these come under the CSR mandate as well
Are we achieving our social goals through CSR?
That’s the key question! How do we measure this? The best form would be as assessment of SDG’s
Sustainable Development Goals adopted by countries are a great measure of key areas that the global index needs to move on. There are goals for India too.The SDGs identify 17 fields across 163 interconnected indicators and push for alignment and collaborative action among development stakeholders.
Estimates suggest that India needs an average of approximately INR 26 lakh crore in annual funding to fulfil even five of the SDGs by 2030 (zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, and clean water and sanitation)
Most certainly increased funding is needed, but coming together of corporates individuals, volunteering and various NGOs putting SDGs on top, moving from Corporate to collective social responsibility is the solution.
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