- Kriss Deiglmeier CEO, Tides Foundation
- Yana Kakar Global Managing Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
- Naina Batra CEO, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network
There are numerous ways in which businesses can engage in philanthropy, ranging from innovative investments to volunteering programmes. These efforts have the potential to improve community relations, boost morale, build a better workforce and generate competitive advantages. This track discussed how business can be more strategic in their philanthropy whilst achieving social benefits.
Ms. Deiglmeier shared the evolution of businesses’ involvement in philanthropy beginning with setting up of corporate foundations, then realizing its benefits for employee engagement and retention by donating their time, then having product donations. Soon after they have seen the rise of corporate strategic philanthropy aligining their social mission with the company assets. In recent years they have begun looking at the supply side opportunities and partnering with NGOs to create shared value.
Rather than the us versus them narrative between NGOs and business, she had three recommendations for NGOs: 1) do your homework re: prospective corporate partners; 2) build a business case as to why it is a win-win for both sides; and 3) think as a partner, starting small, achieving quick wins, before scaling.
Ms Kakar provided a nuanced observation about creating shared value. She pointed out that there is indeed a trade-off between social and financial values as a result of differing time horizons between the need to demonstrate financial performance versus the longer term visibility of social impact. As a result, businesses and NGOs alike need to factor this in and demonstrate that the financial returns will eventually be reaped as social impact scales.
Both panelists talked about how business and philanthropy should look at social innovation. Ms. Deiglmeier offered three points: 1) taking a long-term view and seeing if there is a business case; 2) ensuring it never gets “too big to kill;” and 3) identifying and working with different talents through the various stages of prototyping, piloting, diffusing, and scaling.