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 pure charity disconnected from clear business goals. That is no longer the case. Corporate giving has been elevated by executive and senior management as a response to market forces. It is now a priority for growing businesses. To retain a competitive advantage and capture market share, business must project a reputation for caring about the communities they operate in. Simply being a good business is no longer sufficient in a marketplace where consumers feel empowered to influence business practices, specify alliances and choose 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. Fortune member companies are calibrating their community giving to respond to the needs of the community and improve their brand reputation. These two goals are inseparable if corporate philanthropy is to grow with our social and environmental needs. Giving back should be good for business and the community.
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 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.