Despite Economy’s Woes, Corporate Giving Didn’t Slow

CECP report finds two-thirds of companies hiked philanthropy in 2007

By James C. Hyatt

Corporate philanthropy at many companies rose in 2007 despite an uncertain economy.Research by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) found that “giving by large, multinational corporations increased by 5.6 percent, from a median of $24.67 million in 2006 to a median of $26.05 million in 2007.”Among other findings:

  • Two-thirds of companies increased their giving in 2007 over 2006, while 34 percent reduced giving; a similar survey a year earlier found 56 percent of companies boosted contributions in 2006 over 2005.
  • 56 percent of companies reporting lower profits increased their giving.
  • Of the eight companies in this sample who experienced losses in 2007, seven still increased their giving.

“The weakening economy did not seem to play a significant role for most companies’ giving in 2007,” the report said.“And when CEOs were asked in the same poll, ‘How important should the economy be in determining corporate cash contributions?’ 83 percent responded within the range of ‘not important’ to ‘neutral;’ none felt it was ‘very important.’ In addition, 89 percent of CEOs agreed with the statement, ‘Companies should have mechanisms in place (e.g. cash reserves or endowed foundations) to sustain contributions during periods of weak financial performance.’”

The CECP projects that “despite an apparent earnings slowdown in 2008, most companies will likely maintain 2007 levels of giving in 2008, with some expected to increase or restructure their budgets to reach community partners most strongly impacted by the economy.”

Charles Moore, CECP Executive Director, said, “Historically, companies have made strong commitments to respond during periods of higher unemployment and elevated community need. In addition to sustained cash contributions, companies have also become more creative at better identifying and leveraging resources such as in-kind product donations and employee pro bono service to greater benefit community partners.”

Posted June 4, 2008 in Corporate Responsibility