Doing More With Less - Corporate Giving in 2009
16 February 2009 at 2:59 pm
How is the economic downturn affecting corporate giving in 2009? An investigation by a US research group has found that corporates will be trying to do more in the community with less funds in the next 12 months.
In November 2008, LBG Research Institute fielded a survey via email to some 440 community involvement (CI) professionals at corporations across America.
The respondents represent a cross-section of corporate and foundation giving budgets. Budgets range from less than $1 million to more than $50 million for foundations, and more than $100 million for corporations.
Half of the respondents with foundations say their foundation budgets will stay the same for 2009, but only 35 percent of corporation-giving budgets will stay the same.
And not unexpectedly in this economic climate, more budgets will decrease than increase in the coming year.
An analysis of the data at the individual level suggests that the decrease in corporate and foundation giving will be between 3 percent and 5 percent in 2009.
That translates into hundreds of millions of (US) dollars in lost revenue for Not for Profits, but LBG reports that this is actually far less than the drop in corporate giving reported for 2001 in the Giving USA 2002 report. That report cited the drop in corporate giving as 12.1% in 2001.
In response to tighter budgets the survey found corporate giving professionals will be focusing on “doing more with less.”
Eighty one percent say they will be more strategic in their giving. In general, that means paying more attention to accountability from the Not for Profits, forming more partnerships with NFPs, and carefully aligning their giving with the company’s strategic goals.
In the verbatim comments, some community involvement professionals noted that they will give more dollars to fewer organisations in order to increase the impact of the giving.
Respondents were asked how they will change the apportionment of their giving among the causes they support. The responses suggest that while environmental causes and basic needs charities will likely gain a larger share of the respondents’ giving, arts and culture and civic organisations face a dismal outlook.
Forty-nine percent of respondents plan to reduce their arts and culture support, and 38 percent will decrease their civic support, which includes such items as transportation, public safety and emergency services.
When asked to cite their top two challenges in the coming year, CI professionals most frequently cited budget reductions and community pressure as their top challenges. They also cited the need for increased internal and external communication and staff reductions as concerns.
The survey concludes that tight budgets, fewer CI staff, more organisations and people in need all add up to a challenging 2009.
The full report can be obtained at: http://www.lbgresearch.org/8.html