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:

  1. Assess the business context by focusing on the business case, identifying risks and opportunities, and aligning internal business units around investment programs.
  2. Assess the local context by understanding how company resources could affect local stakeholders, institutions, and their interrelationships.
  3. Engage communities in visioning, planning, prioritizing issues, and managing expectations to promote community empowerment and ownership.
  4. Invest in capacity building by targeting the right people and skills to strengthen local partner organizations and promote self-reliance.
  5. Set the parameters (objectives, principles, and criteria) for company activities and project implementation.
  6. 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.
  7. Measure and communicate results to internal and external audiences and link community outcomes to business value.

You can also read the Quick Guide.