Exactly half of the companies examined in a new US report on global corporate giving gave more in 2010 than they did before the economic downturn and one quarter of companies increased giving by more than 25% since 2007.
The US-based Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), which published the report, says: “The polarity of corporate responses since the downturn reflects the myriad ways in which corporate giving programmes react to economic uncertainty, growing community need and budget setting processes.”
The report Giving in Numbers explains that the algorithms used to determine corporate giving levels are as varied as the companies themselves. In fact, in 2010, 68% of companies that reported profit reductions increased their total giving.
The majority of companies gave more cash in 2010 than they did in 2009 largely due to increased funding to disaster relief, for example, in response to the Haitian earthquake or floods in Pakistan. They also offered greater support for corporate grant programmes. Non-cash donations have increased dramatically, primarily driven by pharmaceutical companies donating medicine.
The report says: “Since the downturn, companies have taken diverging paths, reflecting different methods for determining corporate priorities and assessing financial performance, community need, grant commitments and employee and customer expectations.”
The report is based on an in-depth analysis of corporate philanthropy data from 184 leading companies, including 63 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, the annual ranking by gross revenue of America's largest corporations.
The total contributions from the respondents in the report including cash and gifts in kind, products or pro bono services came to over $15.5bn.
Over 80% of companies have a corporate foundation which is funded by the company. Health, education, community and economic development were the top priorities. In 2010, 94% of companies offered at least one matching-gift programme.
Manufacturing companies were the most generous international donors, giving approximately one quarter of their total annual funding to overseas beneficiaries. Service companies contributed less than 10% on average.
CECP also aims to standardise the reporting of global charitable giving among multi-national companies by offering benchmarks in the report. It offers instructions for benchmarking, a year-over-year giving template and benchmarking tables.
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