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Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by Vineeta Wadhwa

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a continuous commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development as well as improving the quality of life of the workforce and of the local community and society at large. Social responsibility becomes an integral part of the wealth creation process – which if managed properly should enhance the competitiveness of business and maximize the value of wealth creation to society. Over the last years an increasing number of companies worldwide started promoting their Corporate Social Responsibility strategies because the customers, the public and the investors expect them to act sustainable as well as responsible. In most cases CSR is a result of a variety of social, environmental and economic pressures. CSR can not only refer to the compliance of human right standards, labor and social security arrangements, but also to the fight against climate change, sustainable management of natural resources and consumer protection.

In recent years CSR has become a fundamental business practice and has gained much attention from the management of large international companies. They understand that a strong CSR program is an essential element in achieving good business practices and effective leadership. Companies have explored that their impact on the economic, social and environmental sector directly affects their relationships with investors, employees and customers. Although the prime goal of a company is to generate profits, companies can at the same time contribute to social and environmental objectives by integrating corporate social responsibility as a strategic investment into their business strategy.

A number of companies with good social and environmental records indicate that CSR activities can result in a better performance and can generate more profits and growth. In India there are an existent but small number of companies which practice CSR. The Tata and Birla group companies which have led the way in making corporate social responsibility an intrinsic part of their business plans. These companies have been deeply involved with social development initiatives in the communities surrounding their facilities. TATA’s CSR activities in Jamshedpur include the provision of full health and education expenses for all employees and management of schools and hospitals.

In spite of having such life size successful examples, CSR in India is not practiced on a large scale in India. Thus in order to be more successful and to earn huge profits companies in India should undertake CSR. In order to be a successful Corporate Social Leader one should do the following things:

  1. Confronting the Issues
  2. Believing in the possibility of change
  3. Taking on the responsibility of change
  4. Get the best people around you
  5. Putting up the company’s plans of CSR to action.
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Social Impact and why measure social Impact by Anisha Bhatia

SIA is often carried out as part of, or in addition to, environmental impact assessment, but it has not yet been as widely adopted as EIA in formal planning systems, often playing a minor role in combined environmental and social assessments.

As to standard definition “Social impact assessment includes the processes of analyzing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.”

We take the view that every social enterprise and voluntary organization from the smallest to the largest can be measuring their social impact. Long gone are the days when just saying that we were doing a ‘good thing’ would secure any funding. Today, quite rightly, funders and investors want to know that the investment they make is going to be making a real difference.

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years about measuring the social impact that social enterprises and other Third Sector organizations are making.

Funders, government, investors and corporate bodies are interested in making sure their investments have the greatest impact possible and are looking for ways measure this.

But this is not the only reason why it is good to measure our social impact. The real benefits from this process are those that are created for the organization itself – not the funders that support it.

If we, in the sector, found a way to tell the whole story of the impact we are having – not just a series of numbers about how many people walked through our doors – we would have an incredibly powerful tool that would:

-enable us to improve our credibility and encourage people to believe what we say

-inspire and motivate our staff and volunteers

-encourage us to continuously improve our services

-communicate to other stakeholders how great we are

-form the basis of effective and powerful publicity materials, funding applications and press releases.

This is the real power of measuring our social impact – enabling us to market our organizations, inspire our staff and volunteers and attract more funding and investment.

At The Tool Factory we work with organizations of all sizes from the smallest community groups, to the largest of national organizations, from pre-start ups to well-established charities that have decades of stories to tell.

We believe that each one of these organizations can be measuring their social impact – however small or new they are.

Different sizes and types of organizations will require different tools. However, if we take the approach that as an organization grows and develops it can build additional complexity into the social impact measurement system that it is using to meet its new needs as a larger, more developed organization.

For example, a small local social enterprise may find the SROI (Social Return on Investment) tool is not appropriate at the current time. But if they introduce a Social Accounting model now, then when they grow and become more sophisticated as an organization they can build on the model they are already using and introduce the additional concepts of the SROI approach.

For small organizations we often suggest that they start by measuring just one indicator – maybe related to one activity they are running; just to get them started. Once the organization is used to this they can then add more indicators and grow their social impact measurement model.

In fact, if we can encourage all new organizations to build social impact measurement into their organizations right from the very start we will, over time, have a sector in which social impact measurement and reporting is the norm.

Let’s just get every organization started on doing some level of social impact measurement – we can build on it from there.

Social Impact & why measure it?

SIA is often carried out as part of, or in addition to, environmental impact assessment (EIA), but it has not yet been as widely adopted as EIA in formal planning systems, often playing a minor role in combined environmental and social assessments.

As to standard definition “Social impact assessment includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.”

We take the view that every social enterprise and voluntary organisation from the smallest to the largest can be measuring their social impact. Long gone are the days when just saying that we were doing a ‘good thing’ would secure any funding. Today, quite rightly, funder and investors want to know that the investment they make is going to be making a real difference.

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years about measuring the social impact that social enterprises and other Third Sector organisations are making. Funders, government, investors and corporate bodies are interested in making sure their investments have the greatest impact possible and are looking for ways to measure this. But this is not the only reason why it is good to measure our social impact. The real benefits from this process are those that are created for the organisation itself – not the funders that support it.

If we, in the sector, found a way to tell the whole story of the impact we are having – not just a series of numbers about how many people walked through our doors – we would have an incredibly powerful tool that would:

-enable us to improve our credibility and encourage people to believe what we say

-inspire and motivate our staff and volunteers

-encourage us to continuously improve our services

-communicate to other stakeholders about the work done

-form the basis of effective and powerful publicity materials, funding applications and press releases.

This is the real power of measuring our social impact – enabling us to market our organisations, inspire our staff and volunteers and attract more funding and investment.

At The Tool Factory we work with organisations of all sizes from the smallest community groups, to the largest of national organisations, from pre-start ups to well-established charities that have decades of stories to tell. We believe that each one of these organisations can be measuring their social impact – however small or new they are.

Different sizes and types of organisation projects will require different tools. However, if we take the approach that as an organisation grows and develops it can build additional complexity into the social impact measurement system that it is using to meet its new needs as a larger, more developed organisation. For example, a small local social enterprise may find the SROI (Social Return on Investment) tool is not appropriate at the current time. But if they introduce a Social Accounting model now, then when they grow and become more sophisticated as an organisation they can build on the model they are already using and introduce the additional concepts of the SROI approach.

For small organisations we often suggest that they start by measuring just one indicator – maybe related to one activity they are running; just to get them started. Once the organisation is used to this they can then add more indicators and grow their social impact measurement model.

In fact, if we can encourage all new organisations to build social impact measurement into their organisations right from the very start we will, over time, have a sector in which social impact measurement and reporting is the norm. Let’s just get every organisation started on doing some level of social impact measurement – we can build on it from there.

–  Anisha Bhatia

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring refers to research based on listening to the discourse of the web, especially social media, and usually refers to the use of automated tools to process that discourse, typically looking at thousands or millions of conversations. Social media monitoring can be passive, for example listening to people to find out what interests them, or it can be active, searching for references to a specific brand, campaign, or action. It is simply an analysis or understanding about brands, products, reputation and end users opinions through social web.

Social media monitoring is not just about listening to its people it has many key elements attached with it like:

It discovers conversations and activities in real time, it not only measures trends but also analyze it, it understand demographics main geo locations of activities, it also evaluates positive and negatives effects and identifies the key leader and opinion maker. Thus social media monitoring has a wide coverage under it as it covers many dimensions.

The business of social media monitoring The key factors that seem to have held social media monitoring back are:

1. Social media monitoring only reports what people are talking about, if they are not talking about you, or if they are not talking about the issue you need to research, then it does not solve the problem.

2. Social media monitoring is much more expensive than was expected, even to monitor a few brands and terms across a few markets is likely to cost several thousand dollars a month.

3. The widely perceived need to use manual coding has held back the credibility of social media monitoring and made it slower and more expensive.

4. Many of the areas where social media monitoring is strong, such as measuring reactions to experiences and advertising are areas where research buyers are very conservative, preferring to stick with their tried and trusted brand and customer satisfaction trackers.

5. The lack of knowledge about what the results of social media monitoring mean become apparent when companies start to use it. Comments from different parts of social media (e.g. Face book, blogs, and Twitter) often produce different findings, using different search terms often produces different results. There is a feeling that the results need to be merged to make them more representatives, but merged in what proportions? And, what are the merged result representative of?

However, social media monitoring is establishing a base within market research, and an even bigger one outside. Most brands recognize that they need to monitor what people are saying about them, even if they can’t use that process to replace other research.

It is likely that the cost of social media monitoring will fall, as software improves, and as competition between the large number of providers increases, this will increase the use of social media monitoring tools for both research and non-research purposes.

Social media monitoring follows three basic steps firstly it listen to its audience by determining relevant real time conservations and in its second step includes monitoring in which those conservations are analyzed and tracked and lastly it engage its customers dialogue comments for further use.

Maybe for few of us words like radian 6, techrigy SM2 etc sounds vague as we don’t have knowledge in these sphere but these are the top social media monitoring instruments.

The power of reputation is a key to success for any brand as there goes a famous saying:

IT TAKES 20 YEARS TO BUILD REPUTATION AND 5 MINUTES TO RUIN IT…..

Social media monitoring as a major role in building a reputation of a brand in its audience mind thus for any organization this factor should be the first priority as without this a brand in market cannot survive. The brands future lies with social media monitoring thus the better it is the successor the brand will get.

 

– By Anisha Bhatia

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