Charitable giving will probably remain flat in 2011, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of 180 businesses. After 2010’s 13% increase in cash donations, businesses are not expected to maintain the increases. Some see a possible increase in product donations, which when added to 2010’s total, increased giving by nearly 20%.
Out of the 107 Fortune 500 companies surveyed, 74 said they expected 2011’s giving to remain about the same as 2010’s, while 27 expected an increase and six expect a decrease.
The head of the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, a group that represents company grant makers, said that companies are just holding steady and it will take until at least 2013 before companies give like they did prior to the recession’s start at the end of 2007.
Other findings in the survey include:
- Cash donations totaled $4.9 billion in 2010.
- Wal-Mart gave the most cash of any company in the survey, at $319.5 million. Wal-Mart also pledges food and other gifts, with a $1.75 billion commitment to food banks and other organizations that provide the poor with groceries.
- Goldman Sachs and Citigroup posted increases as their corporate profits soared. Goldman Sachs giving increased 353% to $315.4 million, and Citigroup gave more than $100 million in cash.
- When combining cash and products, Pfizer topped the list with $3 billion, followed by Oracle at $2.3 billion and Merck at $1.2 billion.
- Businesses are receiving more requests for basic help, as with utility bills, from non-profits. The president of the Wells Fargo Foundation called this “a very big shift.” Prior to the recession, he said, charities sought strategic, long-term grants. Keeping up with requests will be a stretch in 2011, he suggested, after Wells Fargo’s giving increased by 8.5% in 2010.
Many corporate grant makers say the economy is changing how and what they give, and causing them to focus their charitable dollars more, by focusing on non profits that better match their business objectives, and offering more skills and products as cash becomes tighter.