Giving Thoughts

Jul
30
2014

A Case for Strategic Philanthropy

By Alex Parkinson, Research Associate, The Conference Board

The question of whether corporate philanthropy actually generates business value is a perennial one. Solid empirical evidence to support the ubiquitous anecdotal argument is generally hard to come by, but earlier this year the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) released research that attempted to fill this gap. At the surface, the interesting findings question whether there is actually business value from corporate philanthropy. But instead of answering the question once and for all, the report supports the argument that corporate philanthropy should be strategic, rather than just the purview of the CEO or senior leadership.

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Jul
25
2014

The India Companies Act 2013: What You Should Know

By Anita Whitehead, Managing Director, KPMG LLP

The India Companies Act 2013 requires companies to spend 2 percent of profits stemming from their Indian businesses on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in India. It also requires companies to establish a board-approved CSR policy and a board-level CSR committee. However, a number of questions remain about the fine details of these provisions.

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Jul
22
2014

What Impact? Resist Taking Credit for Results You Can’t Achieve

By Alnoor Ebrahim, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School

Conventional wisdom in the social sector suggests that one should measure results as far down the results chain as possible, counting not only the goods and services produced by an organization (outputs), but also their long-term effects on the lives of people (outcomes) and on society (impacts). Yet it is worth considering whether, and under what conditions, such measurement makes sense.

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Jul
16
2014

Angels, Super Angels and Impact Angels

By Rob John, Visiting Fellow, Asia Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, National University of Singapore

When entrepreneurs grow their ventures beyond the resources of “friends and family,” they turn to outside investors for capital. Angel investors are wealthy individuals, usually experienced entrepreneurs, who provide capital for young companies during start-up or expansion; they also, critically, offer business advice and access to their networks. Super angels are those with a track record of successful investments who seem intuitively to sprinkle “magic dust” over young enterprises. Angel networks may have a similar role in strengthening the impact investment ecosystem in Asia.

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Jul
08
2014

Q&A with Amanda MacArthur: Leadership Development with Social Impact

By Alex Parkinson, Research Associate, The Conference Board, and Amanda MacArthur, Vice President of Global Pro Bono, PYXERA Global

Corporations operate employee volunteering programs all over the world, but often they are sporadic, limited initiatives. PYXERA Global helps companies send employees on skills-based assignments with nonprofit and government partners, small- to medium-sized businesses, universities, associations, and other institutions in developing countries, giving both the employee valuable experience and the partner organization expertise for critical business issues.

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Jul
03
2014

Foundations Must Rethink Their Ideas of Strategic Giving and Accountability

By Chris Gates, Executive Director, Philanthropy for Active Civil Engagement, and Brad Rourke, Program Officer, Charles F. Kettering Foundation

People used to defer to experts who knew things that “we” didn’t. But now, with the swipe of a finger or a keystroke, anybody can become instantly informed about nearly any topic. Citizens everywhere have demanded more voice, more inclusion, and more information in every aspect of their lives, and in many cases they have received it.

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Jul
01
2014

New Giving Thoughts Series Article: Defining Impact

By Alex Parkinson, Research Associate, The Conference Board

The latest edition of the Giving Thoughts series, entitled “Defining Impact,” is now available for download. Click here to access the free PDF. The piece continues with the theme of social impact measurement, addressing the importance of establishing a clear definition of impact. The Conference Board has identified social impact measurement as a key business issue for members, and we will continue to address the topic through Giving Thoughts blogs and series articles.

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Jun
27
2014

Second Chance to Watch the Corporate Philanthropy and Social Impact Bonds Webcast

By Alex Parkinson, Research Associate, The Conference Board

Our special KnowlEdge Series webcast on corporate philanthropy and social impact bonds (SIBs) is now available on demand for members of The Conference Board. Watch a highlight below, or view the full webcast here. For more on SIBs, watch for my upcoming report, due out later this summer.

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Jun
24
2014

Which U.S. Companies Are The Most Community Minded?

By Jackie Norris, Executive Director, The Corporate Institute, Points of Light

The third annual Civic 50 survey is now open for submissions. The Civic 50, an initiative of Points of Light, in partnership with Bloomberg LP, honors the 50 most community-minded companies in America each year. It also helps participating companies benchmark and share community engagement best practices, providing a roadmap for them to best use their time, skills, and other resources to benefit the communities in which they do business. The Civic 50 aims to help translate good intentions into sound business practices for years to come.

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Jun
17
2014

Charity and Philanthropy in Brazil, Russia, India and China

By Joan Spero, Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Wealthy individuals and families in developing countries have a long tradition of making contributions to alleviate social problems, including poverty, hunger, and disease. In recent decades, the number of wealthy individuals and families in the emerging BRIC economies— Brazil, Russia, India, and China—have grown exponentially as these countries have developed rapidly, liberalized, privatized, and globalized. Some newly wealthy entrepreneurs, families, and their companies are “giving back” to their societies through foundations or other mechanisms.

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Giving Thoughts series

The Conference Board Giving Thoughts series is a monthly online publication in which corporate philanthropy experts delve into the most pressing issues affecting our members.

Download the latest issues:
Defining Impact

A Standard for Social Impact Reporting

Data Collection and Analysis in Philanthropy

Classifying Social Impact Measurement Frameworks

Deconstructing Impact Investing
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