I think I speak for everyone involved with the Global Social Impact Fellows when I say that I wanted to become involved for the primary objective of seeing real results. With the Corporate Social Responsibility project in India, it is difficult to know what kind of results we can expect because we have no way of knowing how important our findings will be to the people they are meant to affect. However, I think the harder we work to understand our stakeholders and the more specifically we outline and define our project, the more valid our findings will be to our stakeholders.
The policy makers that passed this law are an obvious stakeholder in this project. A large part of the reason that this law passed in the first place is that the Indian government has had a turbulent history of passing policies that work towards enhancing the country’s infrastructure and social welfare. This law came as a bit of a solution to that problem. Policy makers want to see non-profits filling the gaps in providing services for the well-being of Indian citizens that the government has not been able to provide. In order to make this more possible, the Indian government sought to create a source of reliable funding for Indian NGOs. Policy makers will want to see that what they come up with is effective at achieving these goals.
Another stakeholder in our research are the corporations that must give 2% of their profits. While it is a law that they can abide by and choose to largely ignore, many companies will want to see that their money is not going to waste. On top of that, if there is a way that this law could actually be helping their business they would probably also like to know this information. Perhaps interaction with NGOs can be used for marketing material, and if not directly for marketing material, contacts with NGOs can give businesses more attention and in turn more customers. If we conduct research that demonstrates any correlation between the amount of positive attention that companies receive and their cooperation with NGOs, this information could be valuable to them.
The primary stakeholder in this research is probably the NGOs. We would like to find out how integrated relationships between businesses and NGOs have become as a result of this law passing. If businesses are sharing tactics, resources, and management advice with NGOs, this could go a long way with the success of these nonprofit organizations. If our group creates a rubric that measures the success of these relationships, it could help NGOs understand how to manage these relationships better in order to glean the strongest results.
Other stakeholders in our project include Indian citizens and other countries taking note of the policy. Indian citizens have a stake in the success of their NGOs because NGOs are largely responsible for filling gaps that the Indian government does not cover with infrastructure and welfare. If NGOs are able to substantially improve welfare and infrastructure in India with increased funds, this will improve the quality of life for many Indian citizens. This could come in the form of cleaner water, easier transportation, care for students or workers with special needs, or many areas that are commonly covered with government resources in other countries. Other countries may also be considering passing a similar law. The more successful this law is in improving the quality of non-profit work, the more interested policy makers in other countries will be in passing similar legislation.
We will want to make our work as valuable as possible to these stakeholders. We want our conversations with companies before the trip and during the trip to be as beneficial as possible. One way of doing this would be to make our findings as appealing and widely available as possible to all stakeholders. The more people are informed about how to measure and define the success of this law, the more it could increase a dialogue among stakeholders about the strongest methods. We are considering accomplishing this in the form of a documentary or website. The appeal of a documentary is that it requires little effort on the part of the stakeholders to inform themselves of our research. If it is made in an engaging an entertaining format, more people will want to inform themselves of our research. Another element to our research will be developing a rubric that we can compare all companies or NGOs on. This will help to universalize our findings.