Categories: CSR ReportingTags: ,

Author: Katelyn Nollette

There is immense power in purpose. Not only because purpose creates a grounding, clarifying effect that empowers people to focus on doing what’s right, but because purpose is now driving everyday business decisions.

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance recently reported that high-purpose brands will double their market value more than 4x faster than low-purpose brands and will create much higher levels of total shareholder returns.

Purpose is smart business.

However, trying to define and measure the effectiveness of your company’s social impact is another story – much easier said than done and a challenge faced by business leaders across the country.

Accordingly, Accelerist conducted a study with a group of over 600 CSR Professionals and C-Level Executives to learn more about how they navigate the social impact reporting landscape.

We hope the below-aggregated insights can provide you with a little more know-how into how to spot and overcome potential data collection or reporting challenges so that you can level up your impact reporting game in 2022!

Focus Area: Cadence

  • 66% of participants report on their social impact/CSR goals quarterly, while 26% of participants report on their goals annually.

The question of how often you should be generating and sharing your impact reports is up for debate.

While an annual report used to be the status quo, impact professionals are now leaning towards sharing results quarterly – to keep all stakeholders aware, engaged, and inspired by their company’s impact.

Focus Area: Raw Inputs to Shareable Reports

  • On average it takes CSR/social impact teams 2 weeks to collect all the data inputs needed for CSR reporting and it takes impact teams about 1-2 weeks to translate their raw data into a complete report.

It can take teams up to a month (and we believe these numbers to be on the conservative side), to create a sharable report. With the majority of companies reporting on their impact once a quarter, at least a third of their time is spent on the measurement process.
Whether it’s not having the right infrastructure in place or not having enough manpower (see below section on roadblocks), the data collection and report creation process needs to be streamlined.

We encourage you to take the time now to audit your overall measurement process to see if you can find ways to modernize your reporting – so you can spend more time making an impact and less time on reporting!

If you need a little inspiration on how to get started, take a look at our full State of CSR Reporting report.

Focus Area: Top Reported KPIs

The question of exactly what KPIs to report on can be tricky. While there are some generally agreed-upon areas of focus, there still isn’t a standardized method for what and how to report social impact.
However, impact professionals are paving the way by starting to create their own set of standards. Take a look at the most commonly reported areas of focus:

  1. Company’s Overall Spend on Impact
  2. Workforce Engagement
  3. Consumer Engagement
  4. ESG Goals & Targets
  5. Brand Reputation
  6. Customer Loyalty
  7. Employee Loyalty

Focus Area: Roadblocks

As discussed above, impact reporting can be challenging for impact professionals for a multitude of reasons. Below, we’ve aggregated the greatest reported challenges that CSR professionals face when it comes to impact reporting. Are you feeling these same pain points? What is one area you can lean into and focus on tackling in the New Year?

Greatest Obstacles (ranked from greatest to least) to CSR Reporting:

  1. Not having enough manpower
  2. Don’t have the right tools
  3. Don’t have a team dedicated to CSR
  4. Don’t have a true champion in leadership

Focus Area: Leadership Buy-in

  • 65% of participants report their company’s leadership team plays a large role when it comes to social impact reporting.
  • 36% of participants report their company’s leadership team plays a small or no role when it comes to social impact reporting

Leadership is getting increasingly more involved in the impact measurement processes. Many C-levels executives now even have their compensation tied to ESG targets or DEI reporting. If your impact team isn’t meeting regularly with your company’s leadership team, it’s time to get on the calendar. Remember, CSR isn’t just a departmental priority or concern, but a company-wide statement or declaration of purpose.

Focus Area: Looking to the Future

80% of respondents plan to invest more resources into social impact collection and reporting in 2022 than they did in 2021.

The future is looking bright for impact reporting. We are encouraged to see that business leaders are recognizing the value of investing in impact reporting and plan to invest even more into the area of CSR reporting in 2022.

Are you and your team investing enough resources to meet your 2022 strategic plans? Now is the time to dive in!

To read more about the State of CSR Reporting, click here to download the full report.

About Accelerist

Accelerist is the leader in social impact partnership technology. The Accelerist platform empowers CSR professionals to identify cause affinities, find and vet right-fit partners, and measure the efficacy of their relationships.

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