CECP Webinar Recap: Corporate Philanthropy is Looking Up

Corporate philanthropy is trending upEven as our economy recovers from a downturn, surveys show that corporate giving levels have risen. Alison Rose, Standards and Measurement Manager from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) presented these findings and more in “Giving in Numbers: Emerging Trends in Corporate Philanthropy” on July 13th. This webinar was part of our continuing Best Practice Network series.

Founded by Paul Newman in 1999, the CECP is the only international forum of businesses solely dedicated to evaluating and supporting corporate philanthropy. This fall, its yearly research publication “Giving in Numbers” will present findings about corporate philanthropy practices and statistics. The study surveyed 184 companies that gave $15.5 billion last year, including 63 Fortune 100 companies. Members of CECP gain access to a variety of useful resources, including a web-based benchmarking feature, networking programs, research findings and best-practice sharing.

Over 350 guests registered for this webinar, which included fun features like audience polls and live question feedback.

Alison reported that despite dreary headlines, profits are rebounding and even exceeding pre-downturn levels in 2007. This is good news for charities: 65% of companies surveyed reported increased giving compared to 2009, with 40% reporting an increase of 10% or higher.

The median of corporate giving, a good indicator of the behavior of the typical company, has remained steady in recent years while the aggregate, or total sum, has reached the highest amount ever reported. Over the past year, what factors influenced this trend? CECP presents qualitative analysis along with their findings to explain the changes beneath the surface.

It turns out a small group of companies are driving the sharp rise in total giving, primarily from the health care industry. Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) supply medications to those who cannot afford it and these in particular accounted for the growth. In 2010, extra donations also funded disaster relief efforts in response to the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan.

Alison also discussed which employee volunteer programs were most successful and why. Companies reported that Dollars for Doers was the most popular, a program that rewards employees who reach a set amount of volunteer hours with a grant for the nonprofit of their choice. These programs encourage employees to engage with their community, and grants are a valuable asset to nonprofits.

Giving numbers will continue to rise as companies become more flexible with scheduling and paid-release time, and corporations often find that these employee programs attract young, energetic individuals and boost employee retention. Interestingly, international giving trails behind as companies respond to tough economic times by investing in their immediate communities. You can view a presentation from the 2011 Giving Officer Summit on how CECP plans to include more global companies in these surveys and establish international standards for reporting statistics here.

In the webinar, Alison described how the “Giving in Numbers” report will provide valuable insight on the current state of corporate philanthropy. Businesses can use this information to manage their programs more effectively, benefiting nonprofits and the community as a whole.

Although our economy has yet to fully recover and hiring remains slow, this does not mean giving has to suffer.

The BPN webinar can be viewed on the VolunteerMatch YouTube Channel. “Giving in Numbers” and other reports are available for free download on the CECP website.

To register for the next Best Practice Network presentation, visit our website.

Jesse Fineman is an intern at VolunteerMatch. You can reach him at jfineman@volunteermatch.org.


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