The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility

Survey: Corporate Philanthropy Up Despite the Recession

DonationsDespite the global recession and declines in profits, big companies continue to give to philanthropic causes – but many have increased the “non-cash” component of their contributions.

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECEP), which is comprised of CEOs and chairpersons of some of the world’s “largest and most well-regarded corporations,” said  its 2009 study, Giving in Numbers, found that 53% of surveyed companies increased philanthropic giving from 2007 to 2008—just 3% fewer than the 56% that increased giving from 2006 to 2007.

Moreover, CECP said, 27% of companies increased giving from 2007 to 2008 by 10% or more.

However, the survey found, among companies that increased their giving from 2007 to 2008, non-cash contributions soared by a median of 29%. These donations were supported to a lesser extent by an increase in cash giving.

Across companies that gave less in 2008 than in 2007, cash grants from the corporate side dropped substantially, falling by a median of 16%, with non-cash giving dipping by a median of 9%.

Other highlights of the survey:

  • The overall increase in the increased giving came despite 68% of the companies experiencing profit declines.
  • Strong profits through the third quarter, beyond-budget disaster-relief giving, and improved contributions tracking were among reasons given for increased giving.
  • Poll results show that CEOs and giving officers are devoted to fulfilling pre-existing commitments to grantees while working to more closely integrate philanthropic strategy with company-wide business objectives.
  • The non-cash contributions often involved pro-bono service projects.   CECP cited pro bono projects at Deloitte LLP, Capital One Financial Corporation, Target Corporation, and Gap Inc. as examples.
  • Corporate giving is increasingly reported as becoming more proactive and strategic, signifying a closer alignment between a company’s competitive strengths and the focus area of the recipient organization.

The 2009 Edition of CECP’s Giving in Numbers report can be downloaded here.

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