Measuring Social Impact

There is more to CSR than climate change or green initiatives. However with the dominance of those issues on the radar screen, it might be easy to forget that. One of the concepts I’ve tried to introduce this year in our decision making and communications is the ability to measure social impact.

There may be other terms for it. For example, HIP Investor uses the term Human Impact – but the concept is the same. Basically, is there a way to measure the impact CSR initiatives have on the community which they are intended to serve? I can measure aspects such as $ spent, energy saved, emissions reduced, teachers trained, volunteer hours or even products donated. The next step, measuring results such as improved quality of life or increased learning or a change in per capita income, becomes exponentially more difficult due to the multiple factors that enter the equation.

Regardless, I think it’s important to think about those impacts when considering today’s actions. Intel’s Malaysia site considered those impacts when they decided to focus on growing their employee volunteer program. The site employees set out to make tangible improvements in the local community. Instead of being content with “simply” volunteering, they challenged themselves to find issues that not only interested employees, but served critical community needs.

For all their hard work, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi honored Intel Malaysia with its first Prime Minister’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award for the site’s impressive contribution to community and social welfare. pmaward4.jpg

Employees volunteered close to 50,000 hours over the last 18 months in initiatives such as partnering with the Malaysia Red Crescent Society for the Johor flood relief effort, the Yogyakarta Earthquake and the Lebanon Humanitarian Aid Drive. Annual programs included the Volunteer Matching Grant Program (VMGP), Back2School, blood donation, gotong-royong, PC Pal, laptop donation, Young Enterprise (YE), Adopt-a-Child campaign and the Recycling campaign, among others. pmaward3.jpg

Puan Meme Zainal Rashid, Director General, Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and a member of the panel of judges commented, “Intel Malaysia’s breadth and depth of sustainable community programs and our ready-pool of Intel Involved volunteers set it apart from other nominees.”

I still have a long way to go to really build measurable social impact indicators into out CSR programs, but many of our employees have the right goals in mind.

3 thoughts on “Measuring Social Impact

  1. Intel Malaysia certainly deserves awards for the effort they made in demonstrating a business case for CSR. CSR is a poor sell in Kenya where I work because there isn’t clear ROI. The understanding of CSR here is philanthropy and which is, of course, not the same thing. Is it possible please for me to have the Intel articles that were on the Harvard Business website before I go on my December holidays so that I can come up with a more comprehensive CSR plan for the ISP I work for?

  2. Hello Dave,
    This comment may not be suited for posting.
    I’m trying to reach out to executives working in the area of corporate social responsbility. I read your interview on Development Crossing and I’m looking for groups, associations and/or individuals with whom I can speak about this “new field” and ways to best reach these executives.
    Thank you in advance for your help.

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