The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)recently released the seventh annual report on trends in corporate philanthropy, Giving in Numbers: 2011 Edition, based on data from 184 companies, including 63 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500. The sum of contributions across all respondents of the 2010 Corporate Giving Survey (CGS) totaled over $15.5 billion in cash and product giving.
Extreme Changes in Giving Since 2007. In this report, CECP not only presents a profile of corporate philanthropy in 2010, but also seeks to answer the pivotal question: How has corporate giving changed since the onset of the economic downturn? Since the financial crisis affected the profits of different industries at different times, recovery has not been uniform. CECP identified strikingly divergent paths in corporate contributions since 2007: a quarter of companies increased giving by more than 25%, while 21% reduced contributions by more than 25%, demonstrating that while some companies have been able to surpass pre-crisis giving levels, others are still in a period of rebuilding. In CECP’s four year matched-set of 110 companies, half gave more in 2010 than in 2007.
Rise in Non-Cash Donations. In CECP’s survey, non-cash contributions include product or pro bono services assessed at Fair Market Value. Donations of product often provide nonprofits with valuable resources for which they would otherwise have to pay. Nearly 60% of all survey respondents reported non-cash gifts in 2010, and in a matched set of 110 companies, non-cash giving has grown by 39% since 2007, driving overall aggregate giving higher. The Health Care industry consistently accounts for approximately three-quarters of total non-cash giving in the CGS sample. Pharmaceutical companies make the largest amount of non-cash donations, largely in the form of medicine. Without the Health Care industry, aggregate non-cash giving still rises, but at a more limited percentage rate.
Volatility in Non-Cash Donations. Year-over-year changes in non-cash contributions can be quite volatile. From 2009 to 2010, 56% of companies either increased or decreased non-cash contributions by 25% or more. Among these companies, the most frequently-cited reasons for changes in non-cash contributions were:
One-time donations of real-estate of company property given in 2009 but not in 2010.
A reduction in product donations due to increased efficiency and tighter inventory control by manufacturing facilities or distributors.
The acquisition of a company in 2009 that resulted in considerable product donations that were not repeated in 2010.
Comeback of Cash Contributions. Early in the downturn, many corporations pulled back on cash grants and increased their non-cash donations in order to maintain commitments to their nonprofit partners. However, this trend in cash giving reversed from 2009 to 2010, when 61% of companies increased cash contributions. Giving to disaster relief, a rise in matching gift contributions, and better reporting from business units were cited by some companies as reasons for increased levels of cash grants.