The International Finance Corporation's Strategic Community Investment Handbook (also available in Spanish) helps companies operating in emerging markets to think strategically about community investment programs.
The report recommends a seven-step approach for developing a robust community investment strategy that can help companies gain a social license to operate, reduce project and reputational risks, boost productivity, meet government requirements or global standards, and increase competitiveness:
- Assess the business context by focusing on the business case, identifying risks and opportunities, and aligning internal business units around investment programs.
- Assess the local context by understanding how company resources could affect local stakeholders, institutions, and their interrelationships.
- Engage communities in visioning, planning, prioritizing issues, and managing expectations to promote community empowerment and ownership.
- Invest in capacity building by targeting the right people and skills to strengthen local partner organizations and promote self-reliance.
- Set the parameters (objectives, principles, and criteria) for company activities and project implementation.
- Select implementation models—such as in-house, third-party, or multi-stakeholder partnership—based on company objectives, the project time horizon, budget, and the local operating environment.
- Measure and communicate results to internal and external audiences and link community outcomes to business value.
You can also read the Quick Guide.