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What’s Trending: Giving in Numbers: 2018 Edition is Out!

By André Solórzano, Senior Manager, Data Insights

We are pleased to announce that this year’s Giving in Numbers report is now available! In keeping with tradition, this year’s report incorporates many of the classic analyses that have characterized this industry-leading report, including total giving by industry, employee volunteer data, and operations. New this year is an expanded section on international giving and a deep dive into measurement of outcomes. As always, we look at trends across the field and offer dozens of case studies to bring the report to life and, hopefully, inspire readers to advance their efforts. What do you think are some of the biggest corporate societal trends?

The best news is that total giving continued to rise, with median total giving increasing by 15% between 2015 and 2017. Companies acknowledged the positive effect they have in the communities they serve, especially in times of political uncertainty and natural disasters. In a year beset by natural disasters like hurricanes Maria and Harvey, earthquakes and wildfires; the private sector stepped up to support entire communities. It was not a surprise to see that Disaster Relief was the program area that increased the most in 2017: it doubled in terms of aggregated cash contributions and tripled in terms of median cash giving versus three years ago.

Employees’ sense of purpose continued playing a huge role in the way large corporations contribute and give back to society. Volunteer participation rates continued increasing versus three years ago (34% in 2017 versus 32% in 2015). Companies recognized the importance of understanding and monitoring these volunteering activities in terms of creating business value. The percentage of companies measuring the business value of their employee engagement initiatives grew from 28% in 2015 to 33% in 2017. It is worth mentioning that these corporate societal engagement efforts have limited time, human, and monetary resources that need to be maximized. Although 9 of 10 companies measured the societal outcomes and/or impacts of their programs, only 18% of companies measured outcomes/impacts on all grants.

Supporting the “mass customization” trend identified in 2017 by CECP, the data confirmed that employees aren’t happy with limited engagement options. They want to have the freedom to support the causes they are most passionate about. There appears to be a sweet spot in terms of the number of types of domestic volunteer programs offered that maximized volunteer participation rates among employees in 2017. Volunteer participation rates increased until the number of types of volunteer programs was seven, after this point participation rates started decreasing. Additionally, employees tended to donate more dollars when they had access to open matching-gift programs (where the company did not limit the nonprofit partners that employees could contribute to).

This year’s report incorporated more global data from companies headquartered outside North America as a result of the rapid expansion of CECP’s Global Exchange. Giving in Numbers: 2018 Edition includes a sub-chapter dedicated to global corporate societal engagement trends covered in the Giving Around the Globe Survey. In addition to international companies headquartered outside the U.S. from the Giving in Numbers Survey, the Giving Around the Globe Survey incorporated relevant trends from over 50 large corporations headquartered outside North America. A few key findings from this year’s data include that two of ten dollars go to international end-recipients; there is a high level of employee engagement among Asian corporations; and the patterns North American companies are following for distributing their societal contributions across global regions.

These topics are extremely relevant during times of incessantly changing consumer preferences, globalization, political turmoil, reducing trust in institutions from the public, and times where employee demographic groups are more defined in terms of personal priorities and sense of purpose at work.

CECP is excited to continue this journey of enhanced corporate social investment and we hope you’ll join us in creating the moment and help us create momentum to build on the important role the private sector has in society. No matter what department you sit at in your company, what industry your company belongs to, or how loud the demand for short-term results, let’s create this important and common discussion that benefits society.

Let us know your most pressing challenges in your role and what topics you would like to explore more from Giving in Numbers: 2018 Edition! Let CECP know at! Or Tweet about your programs to celebrate and share your work: @CECPTweets