A report has found that despite one hundred of the top companies worldwide investing over £7.3bn in social programs in 2013, the actual impact is unclear.
The KPMG International report, titled Unlocking the Value of Social Investment, shows that despite the large investments in the aim of helping communities, very few companies are reporting the impact.
Only 19% of the firms have given any quantified metrics for the impact of the programs that they fund, which are intended to tackle issues such as access to education, healthcare, and disaster relief, whilst slightly under a third reported a detailed investment strategy.
Head of sustainability at KPMG, Vincent Neate, said: "Our clients invest in communities outside their front doors and as far afield as Africa, South America and Mongolia. The question they are asking us today is how to make sure this investment has lasting sustainable impact.
"For communities' sake it is time to recognise that properly invested philanthropic dollars are the most effective way to drive prosperity and take people out of poverty.
"Measuring the impact of these investments on the ground can be challenging, but it is important to understand how effective these programs are, how they can be improved and where the money is best spent to deliver the biggest benefits. A clear strategy for social investment is essential to this process."
The investments came from the 10 largest firms in the 10 largest sectors, pumping, on average, 2.5% of their pre-tax profits into social programs.
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services.