By Christie Garton
Last week, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) gave me an advance look at their annual report on giving trends, and I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.
First up, more than $15.5 billion in cash and products were given in 2010, according to the 184 companies (including 63 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500) that responded to the CECP’s Giving in Numbers survey.
But the real headliner? Cash made a comeback in 2010. Indeed, while many corporations pulled back on cash grants during the recent economic crisis, 61% of companies increased cash contributions last year, focusing on such items like disaster relief and matching gift contributions.
While not back to pre-recession levels, this is an important reversal of a trend that has plagued charitable fundraising efforts at many U.S.-based non-profits in recent years.
Other highlights from the report? From the CECP report:
Larger, More Targeted Grants: Companies are increasingly targeting one or two societal issues rather than spreading funding widely across multiple program areas. Within a matched set of companies from 2009 to 2010, the percentage of companies reporting at least half of total giving to one program area rose from 24% to 33%. Furthermore, the median number of grants per full-time contributions from employees declined by 27% since 2007, while the median grant size has increased by 12%.
Prioritizing Basic Needs: Hardship in their communities prompted many companies to support basic health and social service programs in 2010. Education and community and economic development were also cited as program areas receiving considerable targeted funding.
Employee Engagement: The competition to attract and retain talented employees has encouraged many companies to offer innovative and meaningful employee-volunteer opportunities. Dollars for Doers, employee recognition awards, flexible scheduling and paid-release time were programs most frequently offered. In 2010, 89% of companies reported having a formal domestic employee-volunteer program and 52% reported at least one formal international volunteer program. The number of companies offering pro bono service programs, which leverage the core expertise and professional services of employees for the benefit of non-profit partners, continues to grow each year.
[read more: USA Today]