Unappreciated, vulnerable to change, hard to measure.
Their placement, however, is in many many cases improving drastically.
Even a cursory glance at the literature, even company reports, shows that firms are getting smarter about community improvement/engagement spending.
Formerly a guilt offset (all about us), many programmes are becoming rooted in improving impacts (all about you IS better for us).
That’s a good thing. But the business case, both tactical and strategic, will needs to be made constantly, as it should be, to maintain funding. We’d want it no other way.
Here’s an excellent example of the good that improved community engagement can do in a vulnerable society in a relatively short space of time. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to read:
It’s an International Herald Tribune article (my favourite newspaper for the last 20 years) on how Jamaica has reduced crime and improved social conditions in partnership with others and by using proven and innovative methods of community engagement.
It’s well worth a read if you need to make the case for why smarter corporate community engagement programmes should be linked with national priorities, rather than existing in a vacuum.