US Corporate Donations Slow to Rebound
12 August 2010 at 2:27 pm
Corporate donations to charities in the US will not return to pre-recession levels for some time, despite corporate profits rebounding, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy study.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy surveyed the 162 largest corporations in the United States, finding that almost 3 quarters (73%) of businesses expect their cash and product giving in 2010 to be about the same as 2009 – a year which saw giving fall by 7.5%.
Discount-store chain Wall-Mart topped the list of cash contributors, donating US$228.1 million. In May this year Wall-Mart also made a $2 billion, 5-year pledge to fight hunger. Telecommunications giant AT&T came in second, donating $240 million in cash, while Bank of America gave $209.1 million. 2009 was the first year since 2003 that saw an overall drop in cash contributions from businesses says The Chronicle’s survey, with 54% of businesses giving less cash than the previous year..
Of the companies that gave more than 5% of their 2008 profits to charity during 2009, pharmaceutical company Pfizer easily topped the list, donating 24.2% of pre-tax profits in cash and products. Of the US$2.3 billion donated by Pfizer, 97.4% of donations came in the form of Pfizer products.
With less money to give due to the financial crisis, the survey found companies are turning to other ways of contributing to charitable organisations, with 54% of businesses encouraging employees to volunteer more, and 16% donating more products and services.
- Companies gave a median of 1.2 percent of their 2008 profits away to charity in 2009.
- Eleven companies gave away more than 5 percent of their profits
- Companies that gave significantly more in 2009 than in the previous year generally did so because they acquired another business and took on responsibility for its philanthropy.
- More businesses are trying to share stories of their giving, perhaps a wise public-relations move at a time when Americans’ public faith in business is so low.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s survey of charitable giving is based on information collected about the American companies that earn the most according to the Fortune 500 rankings.
- The Chronicle asked the 300 largest companies on the Fortune list to complete a questionnaire about their charitable giving in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Dozens of organisations, including Amazon, Apple and Google declined to take part.
To see the full details of the survey, visit www.philanthropy.com