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‘CAF works for a win-win situation between NGOs and corporates’

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Meenakshi Batra, Chief Executive – CAF India in a chat with SPO India shares the initiatives carried out by the Foundation, the CSR model that it designs for both its client group of corporates & NGOs and what she feels is the corporate perspective of CSR in the country –

 

What are the activities CAF INDIA doing in the country?

At Charity Aid Foundation, we are working with a number of corporate CSR donors to enable them to design and deliver on their CSR programs. So our journey with them starts to understand what they want to do in the CSR field and what their budgets are. We start off by supporting them with their policy development and then we move on to program development, when we find NGOs, validate those NGOs and then also of course hand holding the entire implementation process on behalf of the corporate. We also work on the other hand in the NGO partners; we have validated about 2100 NGOs till date across the country in almost all the states. We also understand their needs – what they are doing, what they want to do, what kind of preferences, capacity, capabilities these NGOs have and then we also try to bring on board the NGOs which are capable of delivering the projects that have been designed. We also do a lot of capacity building of the NGOs. So we help them to understand the legal requirements in the country. All our NGOs are compliant with the law of the land.

Do you have any standard model to design the program for the corporate vision?

So we understand what they want to do. If they have a geographical preference or a thematic preference, we first try to understand what they want to do and then we relate it to the ground reality. All of us working in CAF have extensive experience in the NGO field; people here have worked in a number of thematic areas, right from old age to agriculture, sustainable agriculture and ecological issues to children abuse. So people understand the ground reality here and we are able to very well relate their preferences to reality on ground and we do undertake baseline service as well. Baseline service always helps us to look at understanding the beneficiary’s situations and also helps us monitor their progress that the projects make over the period of time later on.

When Corporate invest in CSR, how do they calculate ROI?

It is something that needs to be shaped further, so we do look at the objectives and the outcomes that we want to achieve. In terms of the monetary calculations, very little work is happening. But of course there is definitely a lot of social impact that can be very easily demonstrated and we show that through our monitoring and reporting process to the corporate.

Is CSR for charity or for the business?

It is for both, definitely it is the responsibility of corporate to support social development of the country and NGOs play a very vital role in it. Of course the government is doing it’s bit, but NGOs are also contributing quite significantly in terms of innovating, reaching out to people who remain outside the mainstream and are unable to benefit from the govt.’s programs. It’s a win-win situation for both, if there is a match in the interest areas between the corporates and NGOs. The govt. also schedules and basically advises and asks the corporates to contribute in the social development sector activities. So NGOs are able to benefit from this new resource that has become available and it is meeting corporate purpose as well.

What is you take on corporates saying that CSR helps brand and positioning in the market?

Someone doing really good CSR wanting to tell their story brings a positive perspective to their products in the market. Of course it is an additional add-on activity when they do branding and PR etc. But that itself is not counted as CSR, but if internally their market and communication departments understand their CSR story and are telling their customer base the impact that they are achieving for the social good that is something pretty good.

What is your message for your corporate customers?

We want to make both our corporate and our NGO partners successful and for that we bring a lot of innovation. We are very flexible in our approach and we really adapt to the requirements of our client groups, both NGOs and corporate. So we are committed to bringing a lot of quality to our work.

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