Today’s foremost organisations think beyond profits; sustainability is the ultimate goal, with more emphasis on achieving balance in three critical performance dimensions namely people, profit and planet.

The common belief among many is that investing in communities is the right thing to do for any corporate citizen: True. It is not without its challenges though.

  • Firstly, investing implies targeting and seeking for value creation for a target group; defining the intended value can be daunting. For most organisations, it is easier to keep an accounting track of what has been spent in social investment projects but the value created is rarely defined let-alone measured and reported.
  • Secondly, questions to be answered include decisions on whom to target as beneficiaries, where to invest, how much to invest, for how long to stay invested etc. All of these questions can only be answered accurately with a coherent social investment strategy. Worse still, when these questions responded to incorrectly, value destruction will result with negative long-term consequences

Opportunities in social investment are equally plentiful, given the fact that needs far outweigh resources available at any given point in time. However, what looks like a myriad of social investment opportunities may be a complicated and confusing web of alternatives difficult to weigh in choosing a strategy. Some key questions to answer include the following:

  • Is there a natural fit between the opportunity and our business strategic profile?
  • Is the opportunity regulatory, or is it in line with our vision or both?
  • Is the opportunity pro-actively identified or is it reactionary to past events?
  • Is the opportunity consistent with what we already have in our social investment portfolio?

These questions and more must be answered to deal with the dilemma associated with allocating social investment resources.