Increasing development impact Channeling corporate social responsibility funds through public-private partnerships

By Julia Soplop, Anna Wetterberg, Ignatius Indriartoto, Maria Jose De Leon Pellecer, T Ligorria Goicolea, MA Roman-Lacayo

In recent years, private fund flows to low-income countries have expanded dramatically. Some of this increase can be attributed to firms' bolstering their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities by engaging with social concerns in countries where they operate. Public-private partnerships (PPPs), which are collaborations between state and nonstate actors to achieve mutually defined goals, offer one way to steer CSR funds toward development priorities. This paper addresses the question of whether collaboration with public partners can improve the targeting of private funds for social ends, thereby increasing the development impact of CSR activities. We suggest that, when compared with independent corporate initiatives, CSR funds can come closer to meeting development goals through collaborations with public partners and can further improve outcomes if project beneficiaries are directly involved. By drawing on RTI International’s experience with PPPs that incorporate CSR activities, and linking it to the emerging literature on such collaborations, we propose strategies for ensuring a balance between partner priorities, avoiding frustrations with divergent organizational cultures, and incorporating beneficiary participation that can improve alignment of CSR activities with development priorities and thereby increase their impact.


Soplop, J., Wetterberg, A., Indriartoto, I., De Leon Pellecer, M. J., Ligorria Goicolea, T., & Roman-Lacayo, MA. (2009). Increasing development impact: Channeling corporate social responsibility funds through public-private partnerships. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0002-0909). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Julia SoplopJulia C. Soplop, MA, is a market analyst with the Strategic Business and Marketing (SBM) team of RTI’s International Development Group.

Anna WetterbergAnna Wetterberg, PhD, works as a social science research analyst in RTI’s International Development Group. Dr. Wetterberg has more than 10 years’ experience working on research and operations in international development. In Indonesia, she managed a research and training program at the Ministry of Agriculture, led research on local-level institutions for the World Bank, and contributed to the monitoring and evaluation framework for the country’s largest poverty alleviation and participatory planning program. Dr. Wetterberg’s current research interests include state-society relations, corporate social responsibility, and international labor standards.

Ignatius IndriartotoIgnatius Indriartoto, MBA, is a Public-Private Alliance Specialist for USAID’s Decentralized Basic Education 1 project in Indonesia.

Maria Jose De Leon Pellecer

T Ligorria Goicolea

MA Roman-LacayoManuel A. Roman-Lacayo, PhD, is Country Program Manger for USAID’s Strategic Alliances for Social Investment project in Nicaragua.

Contact RTI Press

To contact an author, request an exam or review copy, or seek permission to use copyrighted content, contact our editorial team.