Corporate Philanthropy Today: Globalization and Employee Giving
Chief Executive Officer
International Corporate Philanthropy Day is a great time to reflect on how much corporate philanthropy has changed in a relatively short time. Corporate philanthropy used to mean disconnected, individual philanthropic acts, but over the years it has come to mean much more. Today philanthropy is just one aspect of a larger corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform that plays an important role in business strategy. Over my twenty years in the nonprofit sector, I have assisted many corporations in aligning their giving with business strategy; this has given me a front row seat to watch corporate philanthropy trends develop on a global scale. There are two themes in particular that I have seen develop—the increasing globalization of corporate philanthropy and the importance of incorporating employee engagement into CSR programs.
As corporations become more global, so does their giving; businesses are targeting their CSR efforts in communities in which they operate or have a customer base. According to CECP's 2012 Giving in Numbers report, companies that generated more than half of their total revenue from abroad gave more than 20 percent of their total contributions to international programs. Countries with emerging markets (such as Brazil, India, China and many African nations) are seeing positive changes in their giving landscapes thanks in large part to major corporations viewing CSR activities in these regions as long term business investments, rather than simple philanthropy. As globalization makes the world smaller every day, supply chains, a diverse employee base and international customers make it important for even U.S.-based companies with no direct international presence to think globally when it comes to their philanthropic efforts. This is especially exciting for us at Global Impact because international giving is our specialty; with member organizations in virtually every developing country in the world, we can create custom giving solutions that meet business goals.
The opportunity to use employee engagement for business strategy should not be underestimated. Global Impact worked with Ecolab this year to use philanthropy as a way to welcome and involve employees as they integrated two companies. The company being merged into Ecolab had a historically deep philanthropic interest in water issues. Ecolab asked us to design a fund for their employees through their workplace giving campaign featuring our member organization, Water for People. The fund was very popular among employees, but more than that, it welcomed newly integrated employees into Ecolab by offering them a familiar choice. This is a fantastic example of using philanthropy in the workplace to go beyond charity. It can unite employees around a cause and make them feel more engaged with the company they work for, in this case, a new employer.
Another one of our partners, UnitedHealth Group, is also a good example of using giving to engage employees. Because of their diverse international businesses and operations and the fact that their employees are dotted across the world, UnitedHealth Group decided to include Global Impact’s charity partners in their employee giving campaign. Through this campaign, UnitedHealth Group empowers employees to give to the charities of their choice and matches employee gifts to nine featured giving partners and their 12,000+ member organizations that align with the company’s strategic giving practices. Global Impact’s Charity Alliance has been very popular among UnitedHealth Group’s employees because of the wide variety of international charities we offer—in fact, UnitedHealth Group employee giving to these charities has increased significantly in the past few years. To further engage employees in their campaign, UnitedHealth Group utilizes simple but effective technology tools that allow employees to share stories about their philanthropic interests in a virtual environment on the company’s intranet site. Offering these virtual sharing opportunities has allowed employees across the globe to share with each other why or how they give, despite geographic boundaries. This campaign truly demonstrates how a corporation can use its resources and philanthropic dollars to get employees excited about workplace giving and build community within a large international company.
At Global Impact, we are supporting the alignment between corporations and philanthropy and we are excited to participate in efforts to raise CSR awareness through initiatives like International Corporate Philanthropy Day. Philanthropy in the corporate world has come a long way in a very short time—it is incredibly rewarding to watch CSR evolve over time and to know that we’ve had a hand in shaping it.
A Moment When Service Shined
Manager, Strategic Engagement
February 13, 2013--Last week, I had the opportunity to tour the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery projects in the Far Rockaways in Queens with Points of Light as part of their Corporate Service Council meeting. Being a New Yorker myself, I was eager to see first-hand the areas affected and to witness the tireless work of rebuilding. Representatives from New York Cares, a Points of Light affiliate, guided us as we drove down Rockaway Boulevard, where less than half of the businesses have re-opened. In the first two months since Sandy made landfall, New York Cares volunteers have filled 14,000 slots on 924 disaster-related projects, where they “mucked out” (i.e., cleared out anything that sustained water damage) more than 300 water-damaged homes in an effort to get residents back in their homes.
It was crucial for New York Cares to organize the initial outpouring of volunteers so they wouldn’t get in the way of the city’s first responders. Even now, several months later, New York Cares serves as the primary source of relief operations in Brooklyn and Queens, with efforts expected to continue through the spring and into the summer. This organization runs busses of volunteers from lower Manhattan to their staging site every day. Projects progress from “muck out” to mold removal before the eventual rebuilding can begin.
Valuation Webinar Q&A
Chief Financial Officer
February 6, 2013--How charities value non-cash gifts drew a good deal of attention in the press this year, and most of it was negative. Recently, Good360, the nonprofit leader in product philanthropy, joined Raffa, P.C., Crowell & Moring LLP and CECP to explore the topic of in-kind valuation in a free webinar for both nonprofits and corporations. The recorded webinar can be found here.
Since we weren’t able to answer all the questions during the webinar, we’d like to take this time to recap some of the main takeaways and clarify some of Good360’s common practices. It’s important to highlight that Good360 always consults CECP’s Valuation Guide – it’s a wonderful resource and tool when tough questions arise.
Q: If donation value is not provided by the donor, how do you suggest we figure this out?
A: Donations should be valued considering three factors:
- The price that buyers actually pay for similar property
- Where the donor sells property in a wholesale market, it is inappropriate to value the contribution at the property's retail sales price?
- Are discounts generally applied?
Time and Place
- Particularly relevant with perishable or dated items, such as food, drugs, and agricultural products
- The value of a quantity of goods exceeding normal retail amounts may be less than the retail value, even where the donor's "usual market" is retail
Business People on Nonprofit Boards: Advancing Organizations and Developing as Leaders
President and CEO
December, 17, 2012--Through service on nonprofit boards, business people from Fortune 500 companies bring valuable experience and expertise to bear in helping nonprofits to achieve their vital missions. A highly effective board will fulfill its work in partnership with the head of the nonprofit organization by envisioning the organization’s greater potential, creating the revenue model and maximizing financial success, and ensuring the organization’s integrity and high-impact results.
In order to accomplish its work, the board must be comprised of people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds who have experience in a variety of areas including strategic planning, organizational development, board governance, finance, law, and communications. The most effective board members are passionate about the organization’s mission, fully committed to the organization, and enthusiastic about contributing and raising valuable resources that will advance the organization. These resources include both financial and human capital, so board members who can access business volunteers with skills in IT, social media, market research, human resources, and other particular areas can be most helpful.
CECP Releases Giving in Numbers: 2012 Edition
Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy
Originally posted on NCOC's website as a featured discussion, http://www.ncoc.net/GivingInNumbers_2012. Interview betwen Alice Murphy, NCOC and Margaret Coady, CECP
November 27, 2012--Alice Murphy: Looking at the context you provide in this report, it seems like corporate giving is beginning to stabilize after the economic downturn. Could you provide a short narrative illustrating how corporate giving has weathered the economic crisis?
Margaret Coady: You have the headline exactly right: CECP’s data show that corporate giving has regained lost ground and stabilized from a low point in 2009.
Companies had been steadily increasing their giving until 2009 – we saw this in the survey data from 2006, 2007, and 2008. It wasn’t until 2009 that giving levels contracted. Anecdotally, they were doing all they could to keep giving levels high--trimming their administrative budgets and coming up with creative ways to deploy resources. A few companies were able to give more in 2009 largely through increases in non-cash giving (e.g., product, facilities, pro bono service).
Despite uncertainty about the health of U.S. and global markets, companies have been quick to restore their past giving levels. Some were able to do so in 2010 and others in 2011. Our survey data suggests that giving will remain flat in 2012.
Tracking the Business and Social ROI of Grantmaking
July 23, 2012--Last month’s excellent 2012 CECP Corporate Philanthropy Summit included plenty of room for tackling important measurement issues.
As host of one of the breakout sessions—Tracking the Business and Social ROI of Grantmaking—I had the pleasure of leading a rich, interactive discussion among practitioners from companies such as Citigroup, Dow Chemical, Credit Suisse, and Lockheed Martin, in which we explored several key challenges and potential solutions. A few of the concept highlights:
8 Takeaways from the CECP Corporate Philanthropy Summit
Senior Vice President/Director of Global Marketing, New York
June 12, 2012--Last week’s Corporate Philanthropy Summit, hosted in New York City by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), was nothing short of spectacular. Leaders from major corporations and nonprofits spoke candidly on impact investing, skills-based volunteering, communicating with stakeholders, social media and partnerships. A contagious energy surged through the Time Warner Center as participants discussed how we can work together to do good more effectively. Below are eight of my top takeaways from the two-day event:
1. Women were in top form at the summit.
At a time when so many conferences agendas are heavily weighted by male speakers, it was refreshing to see 30+ women take center stage. It’s telling about the industry as well.
2. Collaboration leads to real impact.
Many speakers stressed the importance of partnerships in solving social problems. Arianna Huffington contended that our society is moving away from competition and survival toward collaboration and meaning. Cory Booker agreed, explaining that partnerships between the public, private and nonprofit sectors are crucial to transforming cities like Newark.
Giving in Numbers: 2011 Edition
Alison P. Rose
Manager, Standards and Measurement
Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy
October 27, 2011 -- CECP has had the privilege of collecting corporate giving data since 2001. The last ten years have yielded a storehouse of information that illuminates the relationship between corporate giving and the macroeconomic and cultural factors that influence businesses and their communities.
In 2010, the looming threat of a double-dip recession and widespread unease about the future of global markets significantly affected those factors. With unemployment rates remaining high, many communities in the U.S. and abroad struggled to find their footing. Moreover, the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January was only one of several severe natural disasters that commanded an international response.
As 2010 was the third in a series of strained and uncertain years, this edition of Giving in Numbers not only presents a profile of corporate philanthropy in 2010, but also seeks to answer the pivotal question: How has corporate giving changed since the onset of the economic downturn? The multi-year analysis in the opening section of this report offers a short answer: Companies do not always move in tandem. While some have responded to community need at levels that far exceed their contribution levels in 2007, other companies have cut back.
CECP Webinar Recap
On July 13, CECP was invited to lead a VolunteerMatch Best Practice Network webinar, titled "Giving in Numbers: Emerging Trends in Corporate Giving." In this post, Jesse Fineman of VolunteerMatch provides a recap of the discussion. This post originally appeared on the VolunteerMatch blog.
July 21, 2011 -- Even as our economy recovers from a downturn, surveys show that corporate giving levels have risen. Alison Rose, Manager of Standards and Measurement at 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.
Guest Contributor, CECP Blog
A Global Education Challenge:
On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, CECP partnered with the United Nations on a program focused on Millennium Development Goal -2, “Promoting Universal Education for All.” Following on this event, we wanted to share with you a guest blog post focusing on a recent report by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, which specifically examines the role of corporate philanthropy in addressing educational needs in developing countries.
Justin W. van Fleet
Ph.D. Candidate and Fellow, International Education Policy, University of Maryland
Guest Contributor, CECP Blog
Author of Brookings Report: A Global Education Challenge: Harnessing Corporate Philanthropy to Educate the World’s PoorApril 5, 2011 -- Despite the undeniable benefits of education for society, the educational needs around the world remain strikingly great, particularly in the poorest countries. The global community pledged to enroll all children in school by 2015 but thus far, has fallen short. And UNESCO estimates that over $16 billion would be needed in external resources to achieve this goal. With estimates showing American companies giving over $7 billion annually to support global health, no data existed on corporate philanthropic efforts to support education in the developing world, until now.