How to measure CSR impact?

We already know that Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) is becoming more and more important for business in all industries and sectors. We have already seen in previous articles how CSR is in many ways profitable for business and for society, as shared-value is the new reality and examples of collaboration between companies, even between the biggest competitors, have been increasing. The growing awareness of companies’ ability to help solve global challenges has certainly played a role. Similarly, as sustainability metrics become more advanced, companies are increasingly measuring and communicating impact, giving them the ability to review how CSR efforts benefit their community and their bottom-line.
In spite of this, many companies have some difficulties to measure the impact of their CSR programs. The following tips given by Susan McPherson, corporate responsibility expert, can help companies of all sizes improve the success of their CSR reporting so they can create more impact.

Key indicators
Try to find out a simple indicator to measure your outcome. For example, if your employees are volunteering at a homeless shelter, you may focus on the number of meals served rather than hours donated.
Learn from others
Review the CSR reports of companies like Timberland, UPS, and Intel who succeeded in finding indicators and improving the impact of their programs. There are also several publications and events, including Triple Pundit, CSRwire, Guardian Sustainable Business, FastCoExist, and #CSRchat, that share knowledge and best-practices between CSR leaders.
Listen to your stakeholders
Try to know the needs and the opinion of your employees, suppliers, customers, partners, etc. It can help you to build programs which will best serve those interests.
Do not use only objective indicators
When companies communicate about their CSR results, they usually use a lot of numbers, maybe too many. So, as Susan McPherson says, “don’t undervalue stories”. Some results can also be subjective and not always calculated.
Always improve your measurement
It is not sufficient to take some indicators and to keep them. Measurement has to evolve and need to be improved as much as possible to be able to improve your actions.
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