Breaking Down ACCP’s “The Business ROI of Social Investments”

Kayla Barnes May 1, 2018 CSR Trends

More often than not, the challenge facing Corporate Social Responsibility departments when fighting for a budget is: What’s the return on investment look like? Quantifying the impact a successful CSR program can have on a company’s bottom line can be a daunting task, but luckily tools and data are at your dispense to ease the burden.

One of these data resources is the recently published report by ACCP in partnership with IO Sustainability and Babson College, called The Business ROI of Social Investments. This report walks us through a framework called the ‘SI Value-Creating Roadmap’, a roadmap strategy developed to guide and measure a company’s success in their corporate social responsibility program, or, as ACCP likes to call it, Social Investment (SI) program. After digging through 30 pages of staggering information, I wanted to break down the SI Value-Creating Roadmap which encourages companies to fit, commit, manage and connect.

A figure taken from The Business ROI of Social Investments Report that highlights the high-level uses of fit, commit, manage and connect.


Based on the case studies within this report, the strategy truly yields positive outcomes when SI programs are thoughtfully and strategically designed with business strengths in mind. Businesses don’t just ‘get points for showing up’. By implementing the SI Value-Creating Roadmap, companies establish their SI programs to create measurable outcomes tied to the overall business strategy.


Breaking Down the Roadmap Strategy:



Finding ‘fit’ in a program can be done through aligning corporate priorities with the business’ core competencies. Successful programs define their social impact programs by building strategies that utilize the company’s capabilities, employees’ strengths, and even the products that the business sells. One way the ACCP suggests to ‘fit’ programs into the business is to develop internal partnerships with different business lines and staff functions. For example, if one of the key objectives of an SI program is to increase employee engagement and retention than the program should engage in partnerships and dialogue with teams like Human Resources and Internal Communications.



Companies need to go beyond establishing one singular budget and set of metrics to measure all aspects of their SI program. Each aspect of the overall SI program (i.e. Dollars-For-Doers, corporate grants, volunteering, matching gifts) should be evaluated and assessed to determine their “ability to either make a measurable difference for communities or to add value to the bottom line”. Once each component of the program has been assessed, the company can begin to assign specific budgets to those programs based on their potential impact.

A figure taken from The Business ROI of Social Investment Report, which shows the different aspects of an SI program and how they can fit together.



Next, a portfolio needs to establish outcomes for each aspect of the program. If a program’s strategic outcome is to help boost company reputation, then a company could measure stakeholder perception via a survey. The purpose of the survey would be to measure stakeholder awareness of the company’s SI program and how that awareness influences their attitude towards the company. If the goal of their SI program is to measure human resource benefits, companies could examine employee engagement within their program, and compare employee turnover to employees engagement within their SI program.



Finally, sharing the goal of your SI program to all – employees, customers, and shareholders – can be done by building trust and creating open lines of communication. Investing in these relationships can help companies express the purpose of their SI program, and can ultimately create a ‘halo effect’ that indicates the company operates strategically.


Companies that have designed their programs with SI Value-Creating Roadmap using the fit, commit, manage, and connect strategy in mind, have reported incredible results, including:


           -6% boost in share price

           -20% increase in sales

           -13% increase in productivity

           -50% decrease in employee turnover

           -boost to reputation worth up to 11% of company’s market cap


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To learn more about how these companies created measurable return on investment within their SI program, download ACCP report.