Companies Lean on Professional Staff to Support Communities Worldwide
Pro Bono Week: An analysis of trends in pro bono service
Manager, Research and Analytics
October 21, 2013--Why pro bono? Nonprofit organizations all over the world receive free access to professional services that typically cost thousands of dollars. Corporate employees use their skills to help causes they care about. Businesses create volunteer experiences that can influence the retention and recruitment of high-performing employees and job candidates. CECP, in association with The Conference Board, recently released its annual report on corporate societal investments, Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition, which found that for 2012, among all survey respondents, 36 companies reported a median value of $340,750 worth of pro bono support during the year.
Despite a slow economic recovery, the majority of companies gave more overall in 2012 than in 2007, the year before the start of the global recession. Throughout the recession, companies increasingly sought to use their non-cash resources, such as product or professional volunteer services, to support community partners in new ways.
Behind the Numbers: What do Trends in Corporate Giving Mean for You?
Manager, Research and Analytics
October 1, 2013--CECP, where Fortune 500 companies turn to achieve societal progress and sustainable business performance, recently released its annual Giving in Numbers – 2013 Edition. We analyze in that report how corporate giving evolved during the global recession of 2008 and 2009; despite a slow economic recovery, we found that the majority of companies are already giving more than before the recession. Eleven of 14 California-based companies participating in the longitudinal study increased giving from 2007 to 2012.
There are three core trends we recognized in this global analysis: Companies are striving for 1) deeper impact, 2) greater use of non-cash resources, and 3) more meaningful employee engagement. But what does that all mean to you? In this article, I take you behind the numbers to assess takeaways for each trend from a variety of perspectives.
Corporate Giving: Charity or Good Business?
President and Founder
First Peoples Worldwide
July 16, 2013--There are two basic models of corporate philanthropy. The charity model: write a check to a health clinic that fights AIDS or a school that focuses on educating girls, you’ve helped your community, you’re done. This approach is simple to do, and certainly a lot of good comes from it. But there’s a different model, one we like to call engaged giving, in which a company not only looks deeper into how it can support its surrounding communities, but how that process can serve its own goals and mission.
In 2012, Royal Dutch Shell established a precedent for engaged giving, a kind of win-win philanthropy. Because of our culturally appropriate approach to grantmaking, Shell asked First Peoples Worldwide to distribute $400,000 to indigenous-led development projects in the Americas and the Arctic. The company’s goal was to improve its community engagement by strengthening the decision-making power and cultural solidarity of indigenous communities in its areas of operation, and it imposed no restrictions on the communities or projects we could fund. This is important, because engaged giving should not be seen as a method of acquiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for operations, but as a way of making real connections with, and a real difference in, your communities.
Ahead, Together: Corporate Philanthropy and the Arts
Private Sector Initiatives Intern
Americans for the Arts
June 19, 2013--The powerful impact the arts can have on social change and business objectives was showcased for corporate giving officers from around the country last week thanks to a deepening partnership between Americans for the Arts and CECP. Held in New York City, the annual CECP Summit brought together over 250 of the senior-most giving officers from 130 of the world’s largest companies to hear exciting new research, discuss successes and challenges, and gain fresh perspectives and insights on how they can better impact workplaces, communities, and society while also advancing business.
With similar interests in data and research, and a shared belief that the arts can not only raise the quality of life, but also advance corporate strategies, CECP, with the help of Americans for the Arts, infused the annual summit for the second year with memorable arts performances, which I heard brought up in conversation again and again by summit attendees. This year, music, theatre, dance, and film provided an artistic beat to the summit, providing great examples of how art can be used to solve problems across sectors and industries.
Flexible and Genuine: Building a Strong Signature Program
Director, Corporate Relations
Business Civic Leadership Center
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
June 4, 2013--The 2013 CECP Summit: Ahead, Together, brought chairs of foundations, CEOs, and corporate responsbility experts to NYC to discuss how to make corporate giving more effective. At a session on June 4, Eva Tansky Blum, EVP & Director of Community Affairs at PNC Bank and Lori Forte Harnick, General Manager for Citizenship & Public Affairs at Microsoft shared their insights during Adapting Signature Programs to New Realities, a panel moderated by Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair of Edelman Business + Social Purpose for Edelman.
In her introduction, Cone addressed some of the benefits of a signature program: bolstering a positive corporate image with stakeholders and creating a sense of community investment within the company. According to Cone, “signature programs reveal corporate character.” But as times change, signature programs need to adapt to new corporate and stakeholder expectations, and Blum and Harnick discussed how their companies have adjusted their programs accordingly.
Listening for Greater Impact: The Constituent Voice
Founder and Chief Executive
June 5, 2013-- The hook was set early in the session when the room was polled. “How many of your companies take customer feedback very seriously?” Every hand in the room shot up, arms fully extended. “How many of you put as much investment and effort in community feedback on the work you fund through your philanthropy programs?” One hand went up tentatively to shoulder height.
Over the 75-minutes we had together we explored why listening to the voices of the primary constituents of philanthropy – those meant to benefit from the work – was every bit as important and valuable as customer satisfaction data.
Paula Luff, VP of corporate responsibility for Hess Corporation illustrated the importance of community voice with the case of a long-term program to strengthen primary school teaching in Equatorial Guinea. There were a number of elements that contributed to the success and sustainability of that venture, but important errors in design had been avoided by careful community engagement from the outset. Moreover, that early investment in community participation had produced high levels of community engagement over more than five years. This was judged a key success factor.
Corporate Philanthropy Today: Globalization and Employee Giving
Chief Executive Officer
February 25, 2013--International Corporate Philanthropy Day is a great time to reflect on how much corporate philanthropy has changed in a relatively short time. Corporate philanthropy used to mean disconnected, individual philanthropic acts, but over the years it has come to mean much more. Today philanthropy is just one aspect of a larger corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform that plays an important role in business strategy. Over my twenty years in the nonprofit sector, I have assisted many corporations in aligning their giving with business strategy; this has given me a front row seat to watch corporate philanthropy trends develop on a global scale. There are two themes in particular that I have seen develop—the increasing globalization of corporate philanthropy and the importance of incorporating employee engagement into CSR programs.
A Moment When Service Shined
Manager, Strategic Engagement
February 13, 2013--Last week, I had the opportunity to tour the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery projects in the Far Rockaways in Queens with Points of Light as part of their Corporate Service Council meeting. Being a New Yorker myself, I was eager to see first-hand the areas affected and to witness the tireless work of rebuilding. Representatives from New York Cares, a Points of Light affiliate, guided us as we drove down Rockaway Boulevard, where less than half of the businesses have re-opened. In the first two months since Sandy made landfall, New York Cares volunteers have filled 14,000 slots on 924 disaster-related projects, where they “mucked out” (i.e., cleared out anything that sustained water damage) more than 300 water-damaged homes in an effort to get residents back in their homes.
It was crucial for New York Cares to organize the initial outpouring of volunteers so they wouldn’t get in the way of the city’s first responders. Even now, several months later, New York Cares serves as the primary source of relief operations in Brooklyn and Queens, with efforts expected to continue through the spring and into the summer. This organization runs busses of volunteers from lower Manhattan to their staging site every day. Projects progress from “muck out” to mold removal before the eventual rebuilding can begin.
Valuation Webinar Q&A
Chief Financial Officer
February 6, 2013--How charities value non-cash gifts drew a good deal of attention in the press this year, and most of it was negative. Recently, Good360, the nonprofit leader in product philanthropy, joined Raffa, P.C., Crowell & Moring LLP and CECP to explore the topic of in-kind valuation in a free webinar for both nonprofits and corporations. The recorded webinar can be found here.
Since we weren’t able to answer all the questions during the webinar, we’d like to take this time to recap some of the main takeaways and clarify some of Good360’s common practices. It’s important to highlight that Good360 always consults CECP’s Valuation Guide – it’s a wonderful resource and tool when tough questions arise.
Q: If donation value is not provided by the donor, how do you suggest we figure this out?
A: Donations should be valued considering three factors:
- The price that buyers actually pay for similar property
- Where the donor sells property in a wholesale market, it is inappropriate to value the contribution at the property's retail sales price?
- Are discounts generally applied?
Time and Place
- Particularly relevant with perishable or dated items, such as food, drugs, and agricultural products
- The value of a quantity of goods exceeding normal retail amounts may be less than the retail value, even where the donor's "usual market" is retail
Business People on Nonprofit Boards: Advancing Organizations and Developing as Leaders
President and CEO
December, 17, 2012--Through service on nonprofit boards, business people from Fortune 500 companies bring valuable experience and expertise to bear in helping nonprofits to achieve their vital missions. A highly effective board will fulfill its work in partnership with the head of the nonprofit organization by envisioning the organization’s greater potential, creating the revenue model and maximizing financial success, and ensuring the organization’s integrity and high-impact results.
In order to accomplish its work, the board must be comprised of people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds who have experience in a variety of areas including strategic planning, organizational development, board governance, finance, law, and communications. The most effective board members are passionate about the organization’s mission, fully committed to the organization, and enthusiastic about contributing and raising valuable resources that will advance the organization. These resources include both financial and human capital, so board members who can access business volunteers with skills in IT, social media, market research, human resources, and other particular areas can be most helpful.