How to Draft the Terms of References for a Third Party CSR Impact Assessment RFP?

If you are a company in India and the mandatory CSR provision is applicable to you, then you must be thinking about ‘CSR impact assessment’ for your CSR projects, CSR activities and/or CSR programs (applicable to certain set of companies). As Impact assessment is mandatory for companies with the mandatory CSR fund of INR 10 crore, and specific CSR project or program with INR 1 Crore or above, companies have to work with third party specialized agencies to undertake the CSR impact assessment.

To ensure that the impact assessment is done in a professional manner and a specialized agency is onboarded, the CSR or procurement teams have to design a good ‘Terms of references (ToR)’ or ‘Scope of Work’ document. This ToR document is the foundation of the CSR impact assessment because the technical and commercial proposals are invited using the TOR itself.

What are the essential components of a good ToR for CSR Impact Assessment?

We are enslistinga few essential pointers which should be addressed in the ToR document:

  • A brief overview of the CSR project or program: Highlighting start and end date, key objectives, theory of change, key stakeholders, roles and responsibilities of various agencies in the program, locations of the project (like no. of villages, district, state ) no. of beneficiaries, availability of progress reports/periodic review/baseline data etc.
  • Key objectives of the impact assessment: Clearly define the objectives of the impact assessment exercise to give an idea to the third party for designing the approach of the assessment.
  • Data: A detailed table of geo-locations and number of beneficiaries under the intervention with village/block/district/states level data configuration. In case the program has multiple phases, clearly present the phase-wise data.
  • Duration of the Impact Assessment study: Please define the duration of the impact assessment and by when you need the draft report from the agency. Ideally, each impact assessment study needs to be given 6 weeks to 8 weeks depending on the scale of the project.
  • Data-Collection and Sampling Approach: Clearly mention about the data-collection process, in case you want it to be virtual, virtual and on-ground or depending on the feasibility of the process. If you have any specific ask for sampling design (at least 90% confidence level and 10% margin of error for project with more than 500 beneficiaries), please mention that in the ToR
  • Assessment Methodology: Ask for submission of Assessment Methodology and approach plan in the ToR. This will be useful to understand how the agency is going to do the impact assessment. This is the most crucial component of the impact assessment.
  • Optional Deliverables: (I) A few organisations ask for social return on investment (SROI) as a part of CSR impact assessment. (II) CSR benchmarking to compare the project performance with similar project types. (III) Board level summary report to present to the board in 20-30 minutes given time slots.
  • Financial Proposal: Ask for detailed financial proposals through ToR. The proposal should have HR cost, travel and logistics, incidental costs etc clearly bifurcated in the proposal.
  • Data Privacy: Add a clause about data usage and privacy of the data that will be shared with the agency as part of the assignment.

Apart from the above pointers, many organisations include organization expertise, previous work experience, peer-reference etc as part of ToR, asking for proposals from the agencies.

We at CSRBOX help companies to create robust ToR for the CSR impact assessment. Please write to us at write us at shilpi@csrbox.org or visit us here

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