The amended CSR rules of 2021 require that any corporations now view CSR activities in a more scientific way, investing in impact assessment studies of their CSR projects for enhanced social impact. This showcases a positive approach to moving beyond philanthropy and integrating the idea of ‘shared value creation’ among businesses in India.
Social Impact Assessment is used to identify and address negative impacts and identify opportunities to enhance benefits for local communities, through organisations. There are several reasons why social impact assessment is particularly important for community-based projects. Social impact assessment research spells out the means to generate and use results and information at multiple levels and for multiple purposes, including accountability, communication, direction and learning.
Why Social Impact Assessment is Particularly Important for Community-Based Projects.
- To drive accountability: When you win funding from an organisation, donors will usually make it compulsory to report back on what you’re doing and what you’re spending their money on. You might have agreed targets with them, such as the number of people your project will reach within a given time. You’ll need to monitor your project regularly to collect this information.
- To secure future funding: Funding bodies will want to see concrete evidence of the social impact your organisation has, to help them decide whether to give you additional funding and to decipher the type of support. Ongoing monitoring and evaluating of your projects will provide this. It can provide evidence of what a project has achieved and what might be achieved as this project continues in the future.
- To check the project’s progress against your original plans: It can be easy to lose sight of the original aims you had for your project. Monitoring it on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis and checking whether you’re still on course to achieve your goals will prevent this. A social impact assessment process also helps you keep an eye on whether you’re adhering to your stipulated timelines and budgets.
- To learn from your experience: Appropriate monitoring and evaluation of your project means you can see what has worked well and what hasn’t. You can then use this information to improve future projects or funding applications. Social impact assessment tools enable organisations to collect data which tracks successes and failures and helps to build strong data management systems.
- To motivate staff and volunteers: Showing your volunteers and staff real, concrete evidence of the impact their hard work has had will make them feel great. Environmental and social impact assessment can also encourage them to continue working with your organisation and involve them in future endeavors of the change journey of your organisation.
4th Wheel Social Impact focuses on creating an ‘evaluative culture’ among organisations by building impact assessment into program design, developing results-chains and monitoring frameworks and undertaking impact assessment studies.