Conference Board study optimistic about corporate philanthropy
By Tim Wilson
There are new signs of a light at the end of the recession tunnel for community involvement, and it is not an approaching train.
A just-released report by the Conference Board indicates that corporate strategy, not budget concerns, is setting the philanthropy agenda at companies this year.
“ The 2010 Philanthropy Agenda: Is the Pressure Easing?” is based on a survey of 114 companies this past December and January about planned changes to their corporate giving programs. (The report is available only to Conference Board members.) More than 75 percent of survey respondents said that they would make no recession-driven changes to their 2010 corporate giving programs. Instead, strategic priorities such as aligning more closely with business needs are driving decisions on contributions.
While 53 percent of companies cut giving budgets in 2009, just 20 percent plan reductions this year according to the survey. And only 4 percent of companies plan to reduce the size of their giving staff, compared with 18 percent in 2009. The survey also found a growing recognition by companies that employees are their most effective community involvement assets.� Resources devoted to volunteering programs will be increased by most companies in 2010, as they were in 2009 and event sponsorship will see the most decreases.