Not For Profits Join LBG Corporate Members to Measure and Manage Partnerships
6 June 2017 at 7:55 am
A new program delivering a framework for not-for-profit organisations to use in reporting back to corporate partners, measuring impact and developing strategic partnerships kicks off in July, writes Simon Robinson, the director of LBG Australia & New Zealand.
When most corporate-community investment practitioners think about LBG (The London Benchmarking Group) they associate the model with the corporate sector. It is true LBG was created by business for business 20 years ago, with the intention to help the corporate sector better manage, measure and benchmark their community contributions. It is now much more than that.
Over the last decade, the not-for-profit sector has increasingly sought guidance and support from LBG Australia & New Zealand in reporting back to corporate partners and measuring their impact. It became ever more apparent that we needed to create a specific framework for not-for-profit organisations to use in reporting back to corporate partners, measuring impact and developing strategic partnerships.
We called it “LBG for Community”, and the new program kicks off in July.
We piloted the program in 2016 with 18 community organisations, including The Smith Family, Benevolent Society, Cancer Council Australia and Plunket NZ.
Overall pilot participants told us that LBG is well placed to provide a common language between companies and community partners, and I was pleased to hear that the process helped highlight gaps within existing impact measurement approaches for organisations.
Benchmarking has always been a cornerstone of LBG’s corporate membership, however it was not unexpected to find that benchmarking was not a priority for not-for-profit organisations. As one participant said: “It is easier to benchmark corporate sectors such as banking or retail where there are similarities in performance. But the NFP sector is far more nuanced in terms of performance, making it challenging to benchmark.”
This meant the LBG for Community reporting template can be less rigid and more tailored for each organisation to use.
It was clear through the pilot that NFPs want help with corporate reporting, and companies are driving, ever harder, for increased transparency and accountability around what impact their contributions are achieving. Not-for-profit organisations are seeking advice on the best approach but at the same time they are wary of additional reporting burdens.
This is where LBG can assist, and in light of this finding we have developed the Principles for Effective Corporate-Community Partnership Measurement. This set of principles underpins the LBG for Community model and helps guide community investment practitioners on issues such as thresholds for impact measurement. For example, in measuring the effectiveness of a small monetary contribution it may be acceptable to simply measure outputs rather than impacts.
The pilot highlighted the need for corporate partners to be conscious that their reporting expectations are reasonable. Increasingly I think this is the case. However, some participants said their partnerships would benefit from more clarification about reporting expectations up front.
LBG for Community will be delivered via a webinar series from July to October this year. Participants will be introduced to the LBG for Community data collection tool; a simple input, output, impact framework for NFPs to use in reporting back to their corporate partners.
The tool now incorporates LBG’s social impact methodology and also contains a new set of guiding principles for practitioners across not-for-profit and corporate sectors responsible for negotiating impact measurement, reporting and partnerships.
Organisations who sign up to the program in 2017 can nominate up to three people to participate. Upon completion, participants will be recognised as LBG Certified Community Partners and will be invited to attend the LBG Annual Conference free of charge.