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Corporate Giving Continues to Grow in Dollars and Sophistication
added: 2012-06-13

The first analysis of 2011 corporate giving data, the most recent data available, reveals a majority of corporations worldwide have increased their giving year-over-year. According to the annual Corporate Giving Standard (CGS) survey, conducted by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in association with The Conference Board, companies are driving toward restoring corporate giving to pre-recession levels.

On top of this overall growth, three major trends emerged from the 2009-2011 data:

- Corporate giving became increasingly focused;
- Employee matching gift and engagement programs were high priorities; and
- International giving was on the rise, largely driven by significant revenue growth abroad.

Key CGS indicators tracked through a matched set of companies that responded 2009-2011 include:

- Median total giving was $24.4 million, which is slightly less than 2010 levels ($24.6 million) but well above 2009 ($22.6 million).
- 60 percent of companies increased their total giving since 2009.
- 48 percent of companies increased their giving by more than 10 percent.
- The consumer staples (25%) and health care industries (25%) had the largest percentages of growth in giving.
- Of the companies that saw increases in giving from 2009 to 2011, direct cash was the most prevalent form of giving (median percent change of 18%).

“We are extremely proud to provide this first look at corporate giving programs each year,” said Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP. “We are optimistic about the levels of commitment we see from companies; not only are they continuing to give, but they are also doing so in more strategic and thoughtful ways in partnership with their employees and their communities.”

“The Conference Board is honored to join forces with CECP in the fielding of the CGS, which provides a snapshot of how the current corporate societal engagement program operates—including some important changes in strategy,” added Jonathan Spector, President and CEO, The Conference Board. “Companies are still waiting to see how the economy will rebound, and as such, corporate giving officers are pursuing new programs to make their giving more focused and in line with core business strategies.”

Tightening Focus, Widening Participation

Companies surveyed tended to concentrate their giving efforts on a single program area, with many focused on Education and Health and Social Services. Only 4 percent of companies were highly dispersed in their giving (defined as less than 20 percent of giving in all program areas). More than 31 percent of companies gave 50 percent or more to one program area and 81 percent of companies gave 20 percent or more to either Education or Health and Social Services.

Giving in 2011 also continued to target programs close to companies’ business areas: For instance, health care firms continue to give predominately to health and social science; information technology continues to concentrate on K-12 education; and financial companies remain focused on community and economic development. In these focused program areas, companies gave larger grants to a smaller number of organizations than in 2009 (a median of 78 grants, $31,000 in 2009; 62 grants, $37,000 in 2011).

Employee matching-gifts policies changed as companies moved to include their workforce in their societal engagement: Over all, workplace giving campaigns were up (53% in 2009 to 59% in 2011), as were “dollars-for-doers” programs (57% in 2009 to 63% in 2011). Year-round policies, however, were down (92% in 2009 to 77% in 2011).

The global footprint of corporate philanthropy expanded as companies increasingly engaged with causes outside of their headquarter countries, predominately through employee engagement programs. Companies with increased giving since 2009 were more focused on international giving than their counterparts. These programs largely took the form of employee volunteer awards (increased from 28% in 2009 to 33% in 2011) and company-wide days of service (increased from 19% in 2009 to 26% in 2011). Notably, family volunteering programs were up from 21% in 2009 to 26% in 2011.

New Partnership; Record Giving Data

Beginning with the survey of 2011 contributions, the Corporate Giving Standard (CGS) survey is being conducted by CECP in association with The Conference Board. Through an unrivaled joint online survey tool, CECP and The Conference Board collect and are the first to report on an annual basis data on numerous aspects of corporate giving programs internationally.

The 2012 CGS received the largest number of responses to date: 214, including 62 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, far surpassing last year’s 184 respondents. The 2012 CGS also met another important milestone; it now contains more than $100 billion in corporate giving data collected since the survey launched in 2001, including cash giving, non-cash giving, volunteer programs, management and program costs, giving focus areas, and more.

About the Corporate Giving Standard Survey

The Corporate Giving Standard (CGS), conducted by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in association with The Conference Board, is an online philanthropy measurement and benchmarking tool for participating companies. All figures referenced are inflation-adjusted and based on a matched-set of 144 companies responding to the CGS survey in 2009, 2010, and 2011. This matched-set of companies combined to give a total of $15.7 billion in cash and product giving in 2011, the most recent year of data available anywhere. The Committee and The Conference Board will post a fuller analysis of this data, Giving in Numbers, 2012 Edition, this fall.

Source: The Conference Board

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