Market Background

Corporate giving programs place over 18 billion dollars of cash and gifts into the nonprofit ecosystem each year. Businesses will spend slightly over a billion dollars annually to manage and promote these programs.
For decades, corporate giving existed as an act of charity disconnected from clear business goals. That is no longer the case. Market forces have moved corporate giving to the forefront. Growing businesses increasingly lean on their corporate giving programs to retain a competitive advantage and capture market share.
Simply being a good business is no longer sufficient in a marketplace where consumers feel empowered to influence business practices, specify alliances and choose consumption-partnerships when making purchasing decisions.
Shareholders, community members, employees and civic leaders are increasingly biased towards companies that demonstrate a commitment to the communities they operate in. Any size of business can grow their brand recognition for doing good and enjoy a reputational boost that delivers ROI.
Giving back should be good for business and good for the community. These two goals are inseparable if corporate philanthropy is to grow with our social and environmental needs.

Marketing Corporate Philanthropy

When corporate giving is promoted with zeal and the messaging lands with credibility its ability to grow market share, attract fresh talent and enrich organizational culture are undisputed. Yet, despite the billions of dollars invested in corporate philanthropy each year, consumers remain astonishingly under- informed. Almost 90% of the population believes less than 1/3 of businesses give back. [Royal Cause research has revealed otherwise]
Clearly no one has conspired to keep a corporation’s giving record secret. In contrast corporations are anxious to release news of their generosity. Corporations from time to time do promote their corporate giving in ‘flash’ events – Super Bowl commercials for example. However, consumers lack a convenient and trustworthy resource for validating corporate giving at or near the point of purchase. Employees too are at a disadvantage for communicating their employer’s commitment to the community.
There is an astonishingly poor lack of awareness for the good things companies do in their communities. Despite millions of dollars in print and digital media advertising people remain uninformed about the consistent flow of resources that flows from corporations to local nonprofits.
Over 93% of businesses give back – yet the popular perception is that fewer than 30% of operating businesses invest in community nonprofits. This statistic has another dimension that is more troublesome. We took our initial finding to the field to determine how informed individual employees are about their employer’s giving. Slightly more than 10% of field respondents could name one or more nonprofits their employer supports. However, more than half of them were sure their employer supported something in the community. Said another way, “The place where most of us spend 40 hours or more per week is failing 9 out of 10 times to connect us with their social purpose.”
It’s obvious to business leaders and nonprofit leaders that the awareness gaps are crippling their ability to do more. There is an urgent need to rethink not just refresh how corporate giving is being marketed today.

Who Owns Marketing of Corporate Philanthropy?

Our specialized research includes conversations with over 500 nonprofit leaders and 1000’s of business owners who ‘give-back.’
Join us for part 2 of this series as we probe deeper into nonprofit ecosystem behaviors. We let the research speak and the insight is provoking.