Indian companies are expanding their CSR initiatives and this could land you a high-paying job

Indian companies are expanding their CSR initiatives and this
could land you a high-paying job

Vidya Shah, the ex-CFO of Edelweiss Financial Services, remembers writing many donation cheques to several NGOs as part of the CSR initiatives of the company. However, it was only after she decided to set up the EdelGive Foundation that she visited these NGOs, only to come across the eye-opening reality.

"Even the largest NGOs were struggling. They couldn't plan beyond six months because they were not sure they would be able to raise funds. And they had no process to measure the work they were doing," Vidya told ET.

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After deciding to help these NGOs build capabilities, Edelgive now operates on an annual budget of Rs 25 crore. However, Vidya admits that when the budget was much lower in the initial phases, administrative costs were kept low by limiting the Foundation's staff strength.

Indian companies are increasingly expanding the scope of their CSR activities, hinting at a happy place between the social and corporate sectors. While on one hand, business executives are joining NGOs, social workers too are receiving lucrative offers from corporate houses.

The Ministry of Company Affairs has fixed the annual CSR spends in the coming years at Rs 20,000 crore.

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This has resulted in an increase in the demand of individuals who can handle the CSR initiatives of companies, and since NGOs pay quite less because of budget constraints, salary hikes in corporate profiles can go as much as 40% higher.

To make the rising importance of CSR clearer, CSR heads once used to report to corporate affairs or human resources (HR), but nowadays, they report directly to a board of trustees or the global CSR head.

The rise in demand has given birth to dedicated headhunting firms that help corporates in their search for talented CSR individuals. Third Sector Partners, one such firm, placed 65 senior level CSR professionals in the last financial year.

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"Most of them want someone from the development sector, with grassroots experience, but that really limits the choice. We persuade them to be open to crossover candidates from the corporate sector, especially from banking. They're usually willing to take salary cuts in order to join the social sector," Managing partner Poulomee Ghosh told ET.

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