Posts tagged ‘corporate grant’

May 11, 2012

Survey Sounds Alarm Bell for Nonprofit Sector

Over 91 percent of businesses believe they are equally or better equipped than nonprofit organizations to deliver social change, according to a recent survey reported on by Chloe Stothart of Third Sector Online.

That means just nine percent of respondents thought it was somewhat more or much more effective for businesses to donate to charity to achieve social change!

What makes these statistics even more shocking is that all of the 142 survey respondents were businesses with a Corporate Social Responsibility budget. Imagine what the statistics might look like if a more representative sample of the business community were surveyed.

While the survey was conducted in the United Kingdom by YouGovStone for the Social Investment Consultancy, it should strike fear into the hearts of all nonprofit organizations worldwide.

In the United States, corporate giving in 2010 totaled $15.29 billion, five percent of all giving, according to Giving USA 2011. While a comparatively small slice of the overall giving pie, corporate giving is nevertheless significant. And, for some nonprofit organizations, corporate giving plays an even greater role.

Here’s why the nonprofit sector should be alarmed by the survey findings:

 

  • There’s no such thing as “corporate philanthropy.” For a detailed explanation of what I mean by this, read my blog post on the subject. In short, corporations exist to enhance shareholder value, not to engage in purely philanthropic activities. That doesn’t mean businesses don’t give away money. It just means that when a business does give money, it is looking to enhance the company’s value for its shareholders. So, when businesses talk about engaging in efforts for “social change,” they are talking about efforts that will benefit the business and not necessarily society in general. Also, the business community may be overestimating its ability to facilitate social change while underestimating the ability of the charity sector.

 

  • The survey results reveal an underlying mistrust of the nonprofit sector. The business community seems to have the attitude, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” As long as this lack of confidence in the nonprofit sector exists, we can expect corporate giving will not realize its full potential. All donors, whether corporate, individual or foundation, want to know that their funds will be wisely and efficiently used.

 

Jake Hayman, chief executive of the Social Investment Consultancy, believes the survey is reflective of the attitudes held by the broader corporate community. He said that businesses were becoming far more interested in doing good through their own efforts rather than by donating to charity. Hayman says,

There’s been an evolution from wanting to sponsor or outsource the good you do to wanting to run it yourself based on your strengths”

October 7, 2011

There’s No Such Thing as Corporate Philanthropy!

Corporate Philanthropy does not, or at least should not exist.

While corporations may give to charitable causes, it is not or should not be out of an altruistic sense of corporate social responsibility. Instead, done properly, corporate giving is simply a marketing or research-and-development investment. Let me explain.

Several years ago, I moderated a panel of corporate giving officers for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Philadelphia Chapter. One of the panelists was from a bank, at the time one of the nation’s largest credit card issuers. She told the group that there is no such thing as corporate philanthropy. I saw the mouths of about 100 people drop open. They were either surprised by this news or were shocked that a corporate giving officer would actually admit this. The giving officer from the bank went on to explain that corporations exist for only one reason: to enhance shareholder value. The bank contributed money only where a positive return on investment could somehow be expected.

Many people expect for-profit businesses to act with “Corporate Social Responsibility.” CSR is a term that came into use in the late 1960s. While there are many definitions for CSR, Wikipedia defines it as “a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms.” Today, many nonprofit professionals seem to think that one component of CSR should be corporate philanthropy; they think that corporations should “give back.” News media have even recently done reports on the role of corporate philanthropy.

However, that’s not why corporations exist. Again, they exist to make money for their shareholders, not to perform selfless acts of charity. As for “giving back,” corporations do this every time they pay taxes, provide jobs, pay employees well enough so they can also pay taxes and donate money. As for corporate giving, it needs to accomplish something not just for the charity, but also the corporation.

Marc Gunther, a senior writer for Fortune Magazine, wrote in 2008, “I’m not a big fan of corporate philanthropy. Too often, it’s a feel-good exercise, generating little value for a company’s shareholders. At its worst, it allows CEOs to use other people’s money to glorify themselves.”

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