An article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy last week reported that “cuts to corporate giving budgets are slowing this year.” A study by the Conference Board said 20 percent of the businesses surveyed plan to reduce their charitable giving in 2010, compared with 53 percent in 2009.
While this is good news, it doesn’t mean that corporate giving is back to 2007 levels. And even then, it was still only 5 percent of all charitable giving.
Most survey respondents also said they’re tying their giving to brand awareness and visibility, increasing efforts to get employees to volunteer, and cutting back on event sponsorships. Why is this important to know?
First, adding another fundraising event is often a nonprofit’s knee-jerk reaction to the need to raise money. As we always emphasize, events are among the most labor-intensive and least effective ways to raise significant funds—not to mention a good way to burn out your staff. Now with corporate sponsorships dropping, it’s harder to offset your event costs.
Second, engaging these new corporate volunteers may result in charitable support both from the volunteers and the company. Letting the company know what their volunteers were able to accomplish can be the start of a long-term relationship with the organization. As for the volunteers, a 2008 study of high-net-worth philanthropy, conducted by Bank of America and the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, showed that the more people volunteer, the more they donate. For non-volunteers, the average gift was $35,127; for those who donated 101 to 200 hours annually, the average gift was $124,267.
Are you seeing an upswing in corporate giving? We invite you to share your comments below.