By Samhita Social Ventures
February 24, 2019
Read Time: 4 mins
Samhita and Ambuja Cement Foundation organised the fourth edition of CSR Café in Mumbai on January 31st, 2019. The topic for this edition of the CSR Café was ‘Beyond the Boardroom‘. At the Café we discussed bridging boardroom expectations and ground realities. CSR leaders communicated challenges faced in boardroom engagement, and through discussions, the Café sourced solutions and advice in response to the challenges.
Here’s a brief summary of all the discussions that happened during the session –
We started by asking participants to anonymously communicate challenges faced in boardroom engagement through chits, and then sourced solutions and advice in response to the challenges.
A. Challenge 1
How can CSR leaders convince their boards that CSR is valuable or is needed in a strategic sense, beyond legal compliance? This includes pitching for multi-year funding, investing in CSR, the question of profitability vs CSR and so on.
1. Balancing the head and the heart was a recurring theme throughout the session.
2. Go offline and build relationships:
Participants also articulated that going the extra mile, engaging individual board members offline, beyond the boardroom, and learning about their perspectives while explaining the CSR team’s views, would be very effective in convincing board members.
B. Challenge 2
Participants inquired about engaging with board members of different nationalities, behaviours, cultures, experiences and professional backgrounds, around CSR strategy and objectives.
Here are some of the potential topics for the next edition:
1. Data and evidence across the CSR/project lifecycle
2. Investing in the building blocks of CSR of which benchmarking is an important topic. This can be tied to the data topic above.
3. Technologies that could be used for CSR and the social sector – across facilitation, collection of information, programmatic efficiency, innovative tech and so on.