How Corporates Can Build the Capacity of Social Purpose Organizations


Tomoko Kitagawa


(A system engineer from one of the major Japanese electronics companies worked on development of Malnutrition Tracker for 3 months at The Breakfast Revolution in India)

4 min read

In a world where social issues are becoming more intertwined and complex, more resources from different angles are necessary to tackle them. Cross Fields believes that the private and public sectors in Japan can provide that necessary human and intellectual capacity building capital to the social sector. Thus, with the mission, “Make a difference to the society by bridging beyond the border and empowering challengers,” we act as the “bridge” by matching skilled-professionals of Japanese corporates to the specialized needs of Social Purpose Organizations.

However, the “best match” for all parties lies not only in matching the skills and the needs, but also in developing the leadership capacities of corporate employees. By understanding the needs of all stakeholders involved, we will be able to create the best match possible.

However, not all proposals materialize into collaboration. Here are 2 ways Cross Fields strive to find the best match between corporate volunteers and SPOs:

  1. Identify host organizations that are enthusiastic
    The three most important factors when identifying a host organization includes: social mission and created impact, presence of passionate leaders, and risk-management. As a leadership development program for corporates, Cross Fields provide them with opportunities to broaden their perspectives by undergoing challenging experiences. We also conduct visits to the organizations to identify any security risks before the official delegation. We also work with other intermediaries to better understand and be up-to-date with the needs of each organization.
  2. Understand corporates’ expectation for leadership development
    Japanese corporates often expect the environment where volunteers will be engaged in to be competitive, so that they can help to catalyze innovation. Identifying the right personnel who can represent the company in the long run by providing current employees with learning experiences that can change their mindsets is Cross Fields’s strength.

 (A sales person from one of the major Japanese beverage companies worked on expansion of sales for 4 months at Natural Farm Fresh in Myanmar.)

Achieving the best possible match possible for both the host organization and the corporate volunteers is one of the most essential aspect of this program. From fall of 2018, Cross Fields has collaborated with AVPN to match Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) from Deal Share to corporate volunteers from established Japanese corporates that can provide professional support to SPOs. In coordination with the AVPN Deal Share team, we discuss the non-financial requirements of the organizations before going through the list of corporate volunteers to identify a potential match. Since our collaboration, we have successfully matched two corporate volunteers experienced in finance and IT engineering to SPO The Breakfast Revolution (India) and Natural Farm Fresh (Myanmar).

At Cross Fields, we aim to initiate new projects that contribute to building the capacity of the social sector ecosystem and besides the two social enterprises mentioned above, this programme has also benefitted another Deal Share social enterprise in Indonesia called Rachel House, through the in-field contribution of experts in IT, PR and marketing.
Hapinoy is another social enterprise on the Deal Share Platform that has benefitted through the contribution in the area of IT.

Cross Field runs the Corporate Volunteering Program (CVP), which connects professionals from Japanese corporates with social enterprises and nonprofit organizations in order to achieve what we refer to as “dual objectives”: utilizing business skills to solve social issues, while developing leadership skills of the employees through challenging experiences. Since its launch in 2011, we have delegated over 180 volunteers to more than 80 organizations in Southeast and South Asia, all addressing social issues ranging from the environment, women’s empowerment to education. AVPN will continue to work closely with Cross Fields and further the collaboration with other similar member organisations towards deepening the impact on the ground.

 As part of the launch of the SE Development toolkit, AVPN is actively looking for member organizations that can support this initiative in effectively channeling human and intellectual capital to support SPOs towards investment readiness.

 Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out more!



A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Tomoko Kitagawa

With the passion and belief that collaboration across sectors and borders will create innovation and values needed to address social issues, I oversee projects for Corporate Volunteering Program, Workshop, and Field Study to exposing Japanese corporations to social issues and social business. Worked as a TV producer at Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) for five years. Attended New York University and graduated from International Christian University.

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