Corporate Giving, Non-Cash Contributions Up Since 2007, CECP Report Finds

The sluggish recovery from the Great Recession notwithstanding, the majority of the world's largest companies have increased their inflation-adjusted giving since 2007, a new report from the CECP finds.

Based on a survey of two hundred and forty companies conducted in association with the Conference Board, the report found that aggregate corporate giving rose 42 percent ($4.48 billion) from 2007 to 2012; that 59 percent of the companies responding to the survey raised their total giving over that period; and that both cash and non-cash giving grew between 2007 and 2012, with non-cash contributions accounting for 69 percent of total giving in 2012, up from 57 percent in 2007. If pharmaceutical companies are excluded from the analysis, all other companies increased their non-cash giving from 28 percent of total giving in 2007 to 39 percent in 2012.

The report also found that, in 2012, 70 percent of the survey respondents offered paid-release time and outside-company-time volunteer programs as a way to engage their employees in corporate giving programs, up from 53 percent in 2007. In terms of issue areas, K-12 and higher-education programs received the largest share (29 percent) of the typical company's giving budget, while health and social service programs received the largest share (28 percent) of corporate giving across all industries.

Reasons offered for the increase in giving include improved profits, bigger corporate giving budgets as a result of mergers and acquisitions, growth in corporate foundation endowments, and excess inventory, which translates into more product available for donation. Companies that cut back on their giving cited lower profits, company-wide belt tightening, and corporate spinoffs, among other reasons.

"Non-cash giving is defining the new corporate societal engagement," said CECP CEO Daryl Brewster. "This has major implications for NGOs all over the world. From employees coming in to solve efficiency challenges, to product donations that enable important capacity upgrades, community partners and businesses around the world are working smarter together."