Corporate Giving Stable, Expected to Remain Steady, Survey Finds

Corporate philanthropy by multibillion-dollar companies remained stable between 2012 and 2014, with more than half reporting increases in total giving, a report from CECP and the Conference Board finds.

Based on a survey of two hundred and seventy-one U.S.-based firms, the report, Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition (50 pages, PDF), found that giving increased over the three-year period for 56 percent of respondents — nearly half of those with increases of more than 25 percent — while it decreased for 36 percent and remained the same for 8 percent. Reasons cited for increasing giving included improved tracking and measurement, expanded employee engagement programs, and improved business performance. Median giving as a percentage of revenue remained stable at 0.13 percent. The survey also found that 41 percent of respondents expected giving in 2015 to remain at 2014 levels, while 38 percent expected an increase and 21 percent expected a decrease.

Funded in part by the Newman's Own Foundation, Travelers, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the report found that in 2014, 84 percent of the surveyed companies measured the social outcomes and/or impacts of at least some of their grants, up from 78 percent in 2013. According to the report, total giving as a percentage of revenue grew by 18 percent at companies that measured the social impact of their giving and by 40 percent at companies that measured both social and business impacts of their giving. In addition, the survey found that 78 percent of respondents had changed or were planning to change their employee matching-gift programs by increasing the maximum amount to be matched, expanding employee eligibility, or creating new programs.

"Robust corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies underpin the way in which the most successful and most admired companies structure their operations, and engage with their employees and customers," said Conference Board CEO Jonathan Spector. "It's no surprise that the data in this year's Giving in Numbers report show a practice that is getting smarter at delivering value to business and society, and, as a result, a practice that is increasingly vital to everyday operations."

"Trends Take Center Stage in the 10th Anniversary Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition." CECP and the Conference Board Press Release 09/22/2015. "Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition." CECP and the Conference Board Report 09/22/2015.