Campaign Counsel

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BWF Client Advisory – Giving in Numbers

Originally published October 8, 2015

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) recently released its Giving in Numbers Report, an annual analysis of corporate giving data provided by 271 companies, including 62 of the Fortune 100 companies. While corporate giving makes up only 5% of total philanthropic giving in the United States (compared to the 72% coming from individuals) according to Giving USA 2015, the Giving in Numbers Report reveals important giving motivations and behaviors of major corporations.

According to the report, corporate giving was constant from 2012 to 2014, remaining at 0.13% of revenue or 1% of pre-tax profit. A majority of corporations (56%) increased total giving, while slightly more than a third (36%) decreased total giving. Reasons provided for increasing total giving ranged from improved tracking and measurement of corporate societal investments to expansion of employee engagement programs and improving financial results. Reasons for decreases in giving included the conclusion of multi-year gift commitments, changes in corporate structure, and declining business performance for companies with giving budgets tied to financial results.

When these same corporations were asked to predict their 2015 giving, 41% of companies predicted that giving levels would remain the same as 2014. When asked about non-cash giving predictions, 28% of responding corporations were not in a position to respond if their non-cash giving would change in 2015. With this level of uncertainty for future growth of corporate giving, it is more important than ever to make your organization’s corporate giving programs as strategic as possible to maximize results.

Focus Your Energy on the Most Likely Suspects
Knowing what kind of companies are giving to your sector and in your region will help improve your corporate giving performance. This year’s Giving in Numbers Report gives nonprofits insight in to what type of program areas different corporate sectors are most likely to focus their charitable giving. In 2014, companies participating in the survey had an average of 1.5 focused funding areas (program areas where 20% or more of a company’s total giving is allocated). The table below lists, by program area, corporate sectors providing the highest percentage of their giving to a program area relative to other corporate sectors.

In addition to corporations’ preferred program areas, geographic location is a major factor when corporations are deciding on where their dollars go. By focusing your energies on those companies with operations in your city, state, or region, your team will maximize results.

Look for More than Just Dollars
As the major corporations included in the CECP report continue to evaluate the effectiveness of their giving programs, non-cash giving is at the forefront of the conversation. For every $100 donated by corporations, $17 of these gifts were non-cash in the form of products, services, pro bono services, etc.

Communications (52% of giving is non-cash), Health Care (37% of giving is non-cash), Consumer Staples (35% of giving is non-cash) and Technology (24% of giving is non-cash) are the sectors with the highest levels of non-cash contributions. By working with corporate partners to assess where some of your needs can be met with non-cash gifts, your organization may benefit from those corporate sectors that emphasize non-cash over cash giving.

Take Advantage of Matching Gift Programs
Remarkably, in this year’s report 78% of companies reported that they were likely to change their matching gift programs in the near future to enable more employees to participate in more significant ways. Examples of these changes included increasing the maximum amount matched, extending eligibility and offerings to more employees, or adding new matching programs.

With a variety of different types of matching programs, ensuring your organization is included on corporate lists of approved matching gift recipients is critical. For those companies that limit their matching programs, 21% limit them to educational organizations, 34% to a specific list of organizations, and 45% to organizations within select cause areas. Targeting companies that work with your type of organization and ensuring this information is communicated to partner company employees as well as existing donors is critical to increasing your corporate giving program results.


Copyright © 2015 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.