There is no doubt that COVID-19 has forever changed the way the world functions, and the realm of corporate social responsibility is no different. With CSR projects dominated by relief and donation work related to the pandemic, companies are spending massive chunks of their CSR budget on the PM CARES Fund, State funds, donation drives and disaster relief. This leaves little scope for new projects in the fields of education, women’s empowerment, rural development or skilling that aren’t directly connected to the epidemic. New programmes in sustainable tourism, culture and the arts have a slimmer chance of getting any funding at all. Nonprofits struggling to get projects off the ground could do with some CSR fundraising tips.
Companies in India implement their CSR programmes through NGOs and public trusts. Successful corporate partnerships with nonprofits lead to impactful social projects. However, most NGOs in India are facing a dilemma in this unforeseen scenario of the pandemic and resulting lockdown. Not only are they struggling to reach out to beneficiaries due to social distancing, but they are also having a hard time loosening the purse strings of corporate donors for any social causes barring COVID-19. A recent CRISIL survey of 130 listed companies found that most corporates have allocated over 80% of the annual CSR budget in 2019-20 to COVID-19 relief and recovery. This means that other causes of national importance don’t get the support they need.
CSR fundraising tips
A little help goes a long way in these uncertain times. If you’re an NGO struggling with this dilemma, these CSR fundraising tips might nudge you in the right direction.
Offer value to donors
The nonprofit sector is becoming more competitive than ever, with more professionals joining the fray. Your NGO will stand out for the value you are giving CSR donors in return for their resources. Small business owners are especially thrilled when they get recognition for their contribution. Something as simple as printing out the company logo alongside your organisation’s branding on posters and backdrops adds value. At your next virtual or offline event, ask the celebrity ambassador to give a shout out to the corporation on Twitter or in an interview. It’s an effective way to maximise brand exposure for sponsorship or donation.
NGO CSR impact ratio
A clear impact ratio is the most quantifiable way to gauge the impact of the NGO’s hard work on an initiative. The CSR team of the corporation can report back to the CSR Committee confidently if they have the statistics drawn up in black and white. Of course, this increases your chances of being signed on as implementing partners.
Talk about what’s best for the company
There’s no doubt that you want your NGO to excel. Your team’s blood, sweat and tears have gone into bringing the nonprofit where it stands today. For the company executive you are pitching to, however, yours is among a plethora of NGOs looking for prospective donors. S/he is looking to improve her/ his company’s value and branding with a CSR partnership beyond simply complying with the mandate. So, talk about how associating with you would serve the best interest of the company.
Naturally, this calls for a lot of homework on the company’s areas of focus, operations, CSR strategy, vision and mission. Talk about how your NGO would go about achieving the CSR and sustainability goals of the executive’s company, at the beginning and the close of the meeting.