Lloyds Bank / Bank of Scotland commissioned NEF Consulting to understand the real social impact of CSR and what companies could do to strengthen and deepen relationships with communities and individuals.
The report highlights three ways to improve CSR for the benefit of business and its beneficiaries:
- Measure CSR robustly to demonstrate the real social value investment.
- CSR to be transparent about the impact investment.
- Companies can use the power of their brand as well as investment to promote good causes.
Interviews with Community Fund beneficiaries and Lloyds Bank employees revealed that, for some, the Community Fund was a lifeline with 88% of beneficiaries stating that local changes could be attributed to the investment.
This statistic is unsurprising, perhaps. However, what is interesting about the research is the extent to which charities value the involvement of the Lloyds Bank brand as much as they value the extra money. 92% of charities felt that there was an increased awareness of their work within the community. Beneficiary, Calderdale SmartMove, said that being involved with the Community Fund meant ‘they could use the Lloyds Banking Group name. They were able to say they were a community champion for Lloyds Bank in Yorkshire and Humberside, which helped raise their credibility with funders.’
More broadly, the research shows the importance of moving past the premise that the act of giving alone can create change. Using data from projects and after projects have been completed helps to scrutinise the impact created. In the case of Lloyds Bank / Bank of Scotland’s Community Fund, local promotion of every shortlisted charity and community group is just as important as the investment itself.