'You can't manage what you don't measure': How to measure, evaluate, and report Community Involvement

In this chapter, we will engage first of all with the measurement and evaluation of Community Involvement, and will then turn to how you report your results.

Measurement & Evaluation: Assessing the impact of your involvement

It often happens that measurement and evaluation only get attention as an afterthought, when a program or a project is already well established and has run for some time. Our pledge in this chapter is to understand measurement and evaluation as a planning and management tool, and to take metrics and performance indicators into consideration from the very start when planning a Community Involvement project – to first design it well, and to then keep improving it.

Measurement & Evaluation is about proving outcomes and the impact of activities, both in terms of societal results and business benefits. Impact-driven corporations are dedicated to proving such results, aiming to apply the rigor of continuous improvement not only to their core business, but also to their social programs. Sound management is then about taking a good look at those results to decide how to continue with the project, what to build on, what to improve and what to stop.

In this chapter we will introduce you to relevant Key Performance Indicators, we will elaborate on input, output, outcomes and impact, and will also introduce evaluation methods.

Last, but not least, we will touch upon the issues of cost, time and expertise: Ensure you budget sufficiently for this activity – about 5 to 10% of your overall CI program budget is reasonable – and plan in sufficient time for Measurement & Evaluation. Once you feel sufficiently knowledgeable on the topic, you do not necessarily carry out M&E activities yourself – you can outsource and oversee those.

Reporting results

Reporting on Corporate Community Involvement activities is part of overall Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability reporting. It would not make sense to look at reporting on Corporate Community Involvement in isolation. This is why we will give you a brief understanding of overall CR reporting before engaging with the kind of reporting content you can contribute from a Corporate Community Involvement perspective.

Corporate Responsibility reporting is directed at communicating proven results and impact to all interested stakeholder groups. The first and foremost external stakeholder reporting tools are your company’s global and local websites and the company’s annual CR report.

The financial community is a key driver for enhanced transparency and more effective reporting of companies. An increasing number of investors — both private and institutional — are demanding more accurate information on companies’ environmental and social performance to guide their investment decisions, as they believe that good performance in these areas can affect the overall performance.

A corporation’s responsible performance is measured in a number of global sustainability indices, e.g., Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4 Good. In many companies, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability reporting is guided by the requirements of The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

In a detailed reporting grid, we will recommend to you what Community Involvement data to report, and we will elaborate on how you can contribute Community Involvement data to your company’s CR/Sustainability reporting.