November 20, 2013 Leave a Comment
The trend toward corporate giving and strategic charitable endeavors continues.
While donations were somewhat flat from 2012 to 2013, the fact is that the top-ranking (revenue-producing companies) in America continue to include philanthropy as part of their model.
One company that did up their charitable giving last year: Wells Fargo. Wells donated 1.3% of its 2011 pre-tax profits, or $315,845,766 cash, to 19,500 nonprofits and schools nationwide. That’s a 48% surge in cash giving from the previous year, thanks primarily to the $77 million it contributed to NeighborWorks America, which aids first-time home buyers in neighborhoods most affected by the housing crisis. The company also gave $6.7 million to the Opportunity Finance Network for an awards program which recognizes innovative nonprofits that provide banking services in low-income communities.
Walmart, which held the top spot seven consecutive times, ranked second on this year’s list. The retail giant gave away $311,607,280 (and another $755,868,381 in products) in 2012. Walmart
donated 4.5% of its 2011 pre-tax profits, which helped support about 50,000 different charities.
The company gave away 421 million pounds of food in its latest fiscal year, and has donated more than one billion pounds since starting a campaign to fight hunger in 2010.
Rounding out the top three: Chevron Corporation. The California-based multinational energy company gave $262,430,000 cash, or 0.6% of its 2011 pre-tax profits, in 2012.
Many companies are increasingly looking for alternative ways to contribute to charities and help solve societal problems. Product donations, for instance, are growing much faster than cash gifts. When both cash and products are counted, the total contribution among the 106 companies rose by 20.2% in 2012, to $18.6 billion.
More creatively, a number of companies are stepping up their non-cash giving, offering their employees the opportunity to volunteer with nonprofit partners — in part because they are hearing from employees that they value the opportunity to give back. Many are creating or giving away products instead of just giving out cash. These efforts can help companies increase their philanthropy even as they are paying closer attention to their budgets. Green initiatives and helping poor or disadvantaged youth are popular non-cash interests.
The conclusion: companies are becoming much more strategic in their philanthropy. Instead of giving out grants and cutting checks, many big companies are instead looking to support philanthropic programs that closely align with their corporate goals and are looking for nonprofit partners that are able to show results.
Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn