Sixty-four percent of the world’s biggest companies increased their corporate philanthropy from 2010 to 2013, according to a report released Monday by CECP and The Conference Board.
Fifty-two percent of 261 companies that participated in the study, including 62 Fortune 100 corporations, raised their giving by 10% or more. The companies that did this also increased their median revenues by 11% from 2010 to 2013, and 59% of them saw their pretax profits rise.
Although giving rose for a majority of surveyed companies, the rate of growth of giving showed signs of slowing, the study found.
Last year saw the smallest marginal increases in contributions among companies giving 10% or more since the end of the recession — up 6%, compared with a 17% increase in 2012 — and the largest marginal decreases in giving — 6%, compared with 1% in 2012.
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The report found that the median number of nonprofit partners per corporate grant maker declined each year from 2010 to 2013, whereas grant sizes increased each year as companies focused societal investment dollars on strategic community partners.
“As companies settle in to this post-recession economy and normalize their business practices, corporate giving is no exception,” Michael Stroik, research and analytics manager at CECP, a coalition of 150 CEOs united in the belief that societal improvement is an essential measure of business performance, said in a statement.
“Companies implemented more strategic and business-aligned community investment strategies during the recession, which continue today. They continue to see the win-win of their more strategic — and in many cases, increased — community investments as their revenues rise with their societal engagement.”
Companies want to know that their grant dollars are making a difference, particularly in areas such as community and economic development that are foundational to the strength of society, the report said.
Seventy-six percent of surveyed companies were measuring their programs’ outcomes or impacts, and were beginning to use these data to inform the way they carried out their programs.
“The vast majority of companies measure the impact of their giving,” Alex Parkinson, a Conference Board research associate, said in the statement. “Clearly this practice has become an integral part of corporate philanthropy.
“Companies that aren’t seeking to understand the difference their charitable contributions make need to consider how to implement measurement regimes with their nonprofit partners.”