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Strategic CSI Masterclass

Gain the practical tools to make your CSI programme more strategic.

The next Strategic CSI Masterclass will be held live on 13 May 2024 at the annual Trialogue Business in Society Conference in Johannesburg

More and more, companies realise that corporate social investment (CSI) is moving beyond traditional corporate philanthropy.

CSI is becoming an increasingly professional sector in Africa. Trends show that it’s progressing from once-off projects that create only reputational benefit, or the reactive donation of funds. CSI professionals need to strategise carefully to ensure their CSI initiatives balance high business value with meaningful development impact. But how do you achieve this? Which questions should you be asking? How do you evaluate your programmes and know you are achieving optimal outcomes?  

It’s easy to get stuck managing complex CSI programmes. Now it’s easy to get unstuck

Responsible business leaders want to create a positive impact for their business and for society. This is a notoriously difficult challenge. During this course, you’ll be able to solve problems with experts and exchange workable solutions with other CSI practitioners. Wherever the pain points exist with your current CSI initiatives, it’s time to take a step back and create a strategy that moves your CSI goals forward.  


  • Yumna Mathese

    Social impact manager at V&A Waterfront

    “To be honest, I have learnt so much from this course than from any other. Thank you for putting me on the spot and for encouraging me to participate so actively.

    I’ve learnt to understand shared value so much better. I’ve learnt to think more strategically about my role, projects and my portfolio in its entirety. I am currently applying this knowledge by rethinking and reshaping all this.”

  • Katie Andrews

    Managing Director, Nahana Foundation

    “I found everything very beneficial and it’s given me a lot to work on going forward. I look forward to developing and drafting a clear and focused CSI strategy for 2023 and beyond.”

  • Portia Oduro-Morrison

    External Communications and CSI Officer, Stanbic Bank Ghana  

    “Everything I learnt will be applied, from shared value to outcomes of our CSI programmes going forward.”

What level is the course?

The Strategic CSI Masterclass is for senior leaders and decision-makers working in CSI, including CSI managers, trustees of foundations, and heads of foundations. The course is suitable for delegates engaged in CSI across Africa.  

Course description

The Strategic CSI Masterclass provides you with the tools to think strategically about CSI in your organisation and to make choices that optimise the business and development value of your CSI initiatives. 

Learn about strategic CSI in online classes with industry leaders

Trialogue has been engaged in industry research and supporting corporates and non-profits on CSI strategy and thought leadership for more than two decades. The Trialogue Strategic CSI Awards have evaluated and celebrated lead practice in CSI for over five years. And Trialogue has been running in-person CSI courses in-person for more than a decade.  

Now, these tried-and-tested approaches are available to you online, through interactive video sessions, case studies and research. The course allows you to apply the concepts you learn to your business and take practical steps to apply them to your projects. 

Flexible learning online, with live interactive sessions

Benefit from flexibility, with the advantages of interactive learning. Each module contains supporting resources and guiding questions for you to answer at your own pace. Each week also includes an online live session where you’ll hear from CSI experts and interact with other delegates.  

The course takes place over 4 weeks, with 2 hours of interactive time each week, and additional time for individual learning each week (for a total of 16 hours course time). This allows plenty of time for personal reflection. You’ll also get feedback and focused attention from Trialogue experts. 

Interactive sessions take place on Thursdays at 9 to 11 am SAST

Created for CSI professionals in Africa

This is the only course that teaches strategic CSI in an African context. Modified from a popular in-person course, taught only in South Africa, the online version allows delegates to join from across Africa. 

Who are your course instructors?

Nick Rockey

Nick Rockey is the managing director of Trialogue, having started the business as founding director approximately 20 years ago. He was one of the early pioneers in the field of corporate sustainability, overseeing Trialogue’s first publication in this field in 2006, The Good Corporate Citizen. Nick has over 20 years of consulting and research experience across many market and industry sectors, and plays a lead consulting role in the fields of sustainable business and CSI. He has worked with a wide range of corporate clients, providing support for strategy development and implementation, stakeholder engagement, and reporting.

Cathy Duff

Cathy Duff joined Trialogue in 2008, was appointed a director in 2011, and manages Trialogue’s Johannesburg office. Her experience includes almost 20 years of research and advisory work in the corporate responsibility and philanthropic sectors and five years in strategy consulting. Prior to Trialogue, Cathy was research and development manager at Tshikululu Social Investments, research manager at New Philanthropy Capital in the UK, and manager at Deloitte Consulting. Cathy oversees the research, content and production of the Trialogue Business in Society Handbook and the Trialogue Business in Society Conference. She has worked with numerous corporate clients on their CSI and sustainability strategies, reports, and project reviews.

What will you learn in this course?

In this masterclass you will learn how to apply the strategic CSI framework to your own unique CSI context.  

Week 1 – Module 1: Understanding shared value

In the first week, you’ll discuss the rationale for seeking shared value in your CSI programme. You’ll get to explore important concepts, including the logic model and stakeholder engagement. You’ll then reflect on a CSI project your company supports or manages. 

You will learn:  

  • The core principles and evolution of shared value, and how it relates to CSI. 
  • Why it’s important to seek shared value through your CSI initiatives. 
  • How CSI can enhance your business’s shared value offering. 
Week 2 – Module 2: Trialogue’s CSI Positioning Matrix

The second week is a deep-dive into the Trialogue’s CSI Positioning Matrix. It covers monitoring and evaluation – a vital part of governance for any CSI programme. You will  learn how to evaluate your projects on their business and development benefit and plot them on Trialogue’s CSI Positioning Matrix. We also explore CSI trends. 

You will learn: 

  • The importance of effective monitoring and evaluation. 
  • How to position your projects on the Trialogue CSI Positioning Matrix. 
  • Practical ways of sourcing evidence. 
  • Trends in corporate approaches to CSI. 
Week 3 – Module 3: Practical cases of strategic CSI

This week will delve into CSI case studies, which you’ll analyse as a group. These examples prepare you to interrogate your company’s CSI policies, procedures and strategies. You’ll also uncover the barriers you face in enhancing the strategic nature of CSI in your company. 

You will learn: 

  • How to apply shared value and strategic CSI knowledge to actual examples. 
  • How to evaluate your own CSI initiatives. 
Week 4 – Module 4: Applying strategic CSI to your context

In this final week, the knowledge you have gained in the previous modules will be consolidated so you can apply it to your own CSI initiatives and apply Trialogue’s CSI strategy framework. You’ll discover how to extract shared value from your project, all the way from designing its objectives, through to monitoring and evaluation. Lastly, you’ll know what should change to improve strategic benefits, and how you can start driving change. 

You will learn: 

  • How to recognise major shared-value decision points on the strategic CSI framework. 
  • Programme design, from defining the purpose, to governance, to monitoring and evaluation. 
  • How to apply what you’ve learned to drive change in your CSI context.   

What will this course do for me?

By the end of this course you will: 

  • Possess the knowledge and skills to derive shared value from your CSI initiatives. 
  • Learn from other CSI projects through analysing case studies. 
  • Evaluate your company’s CSI programmes. 
  • Know how to drive change in your CSI initiative.