Research shows how collaborative Corporate Social Responsibility yields greater benefits all around

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is good for businesses as well as for their beneficiaries. But a specific kind of CSR yields even better results when giving goes beyond donations, and expands to other types of resources such as access to expertise and strategic knowledge.

And when partner organizations bring their strengths to the table, each party reaps the benefits. Businesses can gain much advantage from collaborative partnering with non-government organizations (NGOs) for the purpose of CSR, in the sense of both strategic and social payoffs.

One study by John A. Pearce II and Jonathan P. Doh, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, shows five concepts that make collaborative CSR successful.

  1. Partnerships must follow a vision that brings long-term solutions.
  2. Businesses should use their expertise to maximum advantage in collaborative CSR.
  3. Companies should participate in specialized services for large-scale collaborative initiatives.
  4. Government support is vital to successful collaborative CSR.
  5. The total (monetary) value of benefits rendered should be assessed.

One good example of this type of collaborative CSR is “18 Days of Giving. A Lifetime of Caring,” a partnership between the National Day Parade (NDP) 2018 organising committee, the Company of Good programme of the National Volunteer Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and SG Cares.

“18 Days of Giving. A Lifetime of Caring” encouraged citizens to show care and support for others in the community to celebrate Singapore’s birthday, and 100 community groups, businesses and public agencies joined together for the cause.

The original concept was proposed by marketing agency Design Prodigy, which donated a cyber platform for the project. The other parties contributed from their core strengths to make the initiative a success. Furthermore, government support gave the project credibility.

Marc Goh, who was a key player in the project and who is part of the Company of Good Fellowship said, “There are other successful examples of collaborative social responsibility from my peers at the Company of Good Fellowship. These are only possible because of the impeccable design of the training programme that helps us think about CSR more strategically.

More crucially, we see that we are but one part of a larger ecosystem. Working together amplifies our efforts and impact beyond our own capacities.”

Says the head of business development at cleaning-services company Spic & Span, Benjamin Chua: “Spic & Span works with a number of VWOs (voluntary welfare organisations). We know the social workers and their client profiles. So when a Company of Good Fellow has something to offer, we share the resources and network. There is only so much we can do as a company. But when we work together for the social cause, we can have bigger social outreach, bigger social impact.”