Get people involved in corporate community investment, says CAF

Corporate investment in communities is more effective when customers, employees and local communities are involved in developing the programmes, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation.

The role of stakeholder engagement in Corporate Community Investment, launched last week at CAF’s Companies and Communities Awards, found that involving stakeholders ensures that schemes have a greater social impact.

It also found that companies benefit from engaging with stakeholders because it improves employees’ knowledge and increases their competitive advantage.

Mike Stapleton, UK corporate affairs director for the Compass Group, said its scheme, Compass in the Community, started as a way to give something back to the communities the business works in, but has developed into something that helps the business.

“It’s a great motivator,” he said. “It improves people’s attitudes and helps us to retain staff.”

The research was a qualitative study involving interviews with the people responsible for corporate community investment programmes in 12 UK companies. The next stage will be quantitative, aiming to investigate these themes more extensively.

CAF also announced the winners of its annual Companies and Communities Awards (see list, below).

Russell Prior, executive director of company and international services at CAF, said: “Stakeholders, such as employees, customers and the community, are being taken more seriously and as a consequence we are seeing the creation of opportunities that not only benefit the community but the business too.”

CAF Companies and Communities Awards 2007

Innovation Award

Winner: Compass Group; Commended: McDonalds

Community Investment Award for effective stakeholder engagement

Winner: Barclays plc
Commended: Reed Elsevier

Community Investment Award for effective company giving

Winner: Barclays plc
Commended: Imperial Tobacco

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