Want to make the world a better place and earn a salary for the kind of work people usually do for nothing? If yes, then you might want to consider a career in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR represents a company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment in which it operates. "Through CSR, a company tries to mitigate the impact its operations have on the society and the environment and thus try to achieve a balance of economic, environment and social needs," says Venkat Rolla, group head – CSR, RPG Group.
The Companies Act of 2013 under section 135, the CSR rules which came into force in April this year, states that companies falling under the purview of this section will compulsorily need to spend two per cent of their profit before tax on CSR. "This is a boon to the development sector as approximately Rs20,000 crores will now have to be spent by about 16,000 corporates every year. This is where CSR professionals will be required to execute and manage numerous programmes," informs Rolla.
CSR professionals in corporates, based on their organisations philosophy, articulate CSR visions, identify causes and obtain budgets. They have execute these missions by either raising funds for existing NGOs which pledge support to certain causes or by involving employees. "They have to try and scale up, improve quality and make projects sustainable," says a spokesperson from Kotak Education Foundation.
The idea is to reach out to the underprivileged in the community thereby making a positive impact on them. Professionals in CSR need to build a bridge and get employees to volunteer and give back to the society. "Contributions can be in the form of non- monetary (time, mentoring, skill development etc.) and/ or monetary resources with a focus on inclusive growth of the community," says Amol T Tope, co-founder, SucceedSafe. The spokesperson from Kotak Education Foundation agrees, "Chequebook philanthropy cannot be considered CSR, the programmes should be scalable and its impact should be measurable."
To make a career in CSR, one should know that it is not enough to simply say that you care about the environment or the community. Today, there are many specialised courses that offer training on sustainability. "One has to be qualified in the social sector along with some corporate experience," informs Tope. However, there are many professionals from other sectors who also enter this field. "A large number of participants have moved from other professions like Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) marketing and other areas. Several educationists too have joined the profession," adds a spokesperson from Kotak Education Foundation.
Apart from professional qualifications, aspirants in this sector require other skills as well. Sensitivity and willingness to work with people, communities and the environment are must haves. One should also be well aware about government schemes and policies. When a company takes up a cause, many hidden realities of the government come to the fore. "To work with the government is a challenge that these aspirants will have to face," warns Rolla.
The pay package of a CSR professional depends completely on the organisation he/she is working with. "If CSR is considered important by the corporates, the incumbent will be in a similar pay scale as the other employees in the organisation,"says Tope. However, the experience this sector provides, will most definitely be satisfying in the long term.
Working towards make a difference in the lives of people could get stressful sometimes, but the reward of being a part of something good that affects so many people is always satisfying. "I have always had the heart to do good for the community but once you are out of college, managing your career/job, social work is hardly possible. Being able to do this and getting paid for it is a lucky strike," concludes Astrid Pereira, student- Communication for Development, XIC.
Some of the universities offering degree in social work/rural development:
Master of Social Work (MSW)/MA Social Work
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
Bangalore University, Bangalore
Lucknow University, Lucknow
Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
University of Mumbai, Mumbai
Post Graduate Diploma in social work/rural development (PGDRD)/MBA (social/ rural development)
Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC), Mumbai
National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) Hydrabad
Xavier Institute of Social Service Purulia road, Ranchi.
Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), Gujrat
Teri University, New Delhi