Rethinking the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR)

01 Aug 2023

The more time I spend at Rainmatter Foundation, the more I realize that India’s social sector’s funding model needs to be fixed. There are too few funders and too many existential issues.

Most people think that supporting non-profits is only the job of Corporate CSR.

Last year, ~Rs 25,000 crores was allocated to the social sector under CSR, which mandates corporations to give 2% of their profits. But given the monumental challenges the social sector is trying to tackle, such as education, health, conservation, and more, this isn’t enough.

Why should the social sector exist?

Apart from everything else,

“Nonprofits occupy a unique space as facilitators in the development ecosystem. Some of the toughest, most complex problems in the sector need creativity and enterprise. "

“Staying small affords us the advantage of being flexible and enables us to take risks that larger bodies, such as the government and industry, may not be able to take.”

So, in a way, the same reason why startups exist is because large businesses can’t solve all problems.

We need more and different types of funders in the sector, like angels, VCs and PEs for startups. Maybe this could happen if we stop thinking of CSR as giving and instead look at it as social investment and part of our asset allocation along with stocks, real estate, & more.

Thanks, Nature inFocus, for the panel and for bringing up this conversation.

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