Chronicle's 2009 Corporate Giving Survey

Corporate giving in 2009 may not be quite as dire as anticipated. According to a new survey from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, about half of responding companies said they would maintain roughly the same giving levels in 2009 as they did last year.

The Chronicle study (premium login required) on the state of corporate philanthropy is composed of corporate giving data from 108 of America’s largest companies. It’s chock full of useful data and information that address some of the most common questions among cause marketers and those interested in corporate giving trends.

A few key findings the Chronicle reported:

  • 2009 Predictions: Of the 96 companies that provided predictions about how much they would donate in cash and products this year, 51 said the amount would stay roughly the same as in 2008, 15 expected it to decline and five said it would grow.
  • 2008 Giving: The survey found that despite the gloomy outlook, cash giving among big companies grew in 2008. Of the 71 companies that provided data for 2007 and 2008, cash donations rose from $3.6-billion to $3.9-billion, a 9-percent increase — or about 5 percent when adjusted for inflation.
  • Biggest Givers (cash & in-kind): When both cash and products are counted, the computer software company Oracle gave the most in 2008 ($2.1-billion), followed by Pfizer ($1.9-billion) and Merck & Company ($821-million). Product giving makes up most of corporate philanthropy, accounting for 66 percent of what the companies in the survey donated in 2008.
  • Biggest Givers (cash): Among cash contributors, Wal-Mart led the pack, awarding $320.5-million, an increase of almost $20-million over 2007. The second and third largest cash donors were Bank of America ($226-million) and Exxon Mobil Corporation ($188-million).
  • 1% Rule: Businesses awarded a median of 1 percent of their 2007 pretax profits to charity in 2008. This represented a decline from last year, when they donated 1.4 percent of their profits.
  • Matching Gifts: Ten companies have reduced or cut their employee matching-gift program.
  • Business Alignment: The results also show that companies are becoming increasingly strategic with their giving, often focusing on basic human needs and decreasing giving to arts, culture and capital campaigns. The article discusses giving among financial and automotive companies, as well, given the stress these industries are under.


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