The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) and The Conference Board released their Corporate Giving Standard (CGS) survey this week. Over 200 Fortune 500 companies participated in the survey including 62 Fortune 100 firms. With these companies together donating almost $20 billion total in 2011, the report reveals current trends in corporative giving. To the detractors of corporate philanthropy, or those worried that companies are doing less, this survey shows that reports of corporate giving’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Last year 60 percent of the surveyed companies gave more than they had donated in 2009, showing that despite the global financial crises large corporate gifts are on the upswing.

Some of the more interesting findings in the survey include:

Growth in corporate giving will be moderate in the coming years: While 40 percent of the companies surveyed in the CGS report expect to increase their donations this year, few expect the amount to increase more than 10 percent. Most said that the amount they would done would remain unchanged; only 10 percent said the amount they would donate would actually decrease. Despite the expectations back in 2009 that corporate giving would take a long time to recover, most firms were quick to restore their grants and donations to previous years’ levels.

Fewer grants, but more higher-level gifts: The number of total grants is on the decline, but their monetary value is on the increase. The median grant size spiked over 30 percent between 2009 and 2011. Two reasons are behind this trend: first, companies are overwhelmingly becoming more strategic about where they donate money, and want those grants to go to organizations where the work aligns with the companies’ business interests. Some companies, but less than 20 percent, say that reduced staff resources are causing them to become more efficient with less bandwidth.

Non-cash giving is volatile: One would expect the opposite to be true, but companies who reduced their philanthropic efforts in general only donated less cash via their companies’ headquarters or donations. Non-cash donations, such as information technology equipment or land, showed larger swings in total amounts donated the past few years. Companies that gave more in 2011 produced in-kind donations at a rate of over 30 percent; for companies that donated less, that rate approached a decrease of almost 50 percent. Such swings in part are because a large one-off donation such as a building, followed by the usual cash grants the following year, cause cause those huge fluctuations. Overall, if a company’s financial performance declined, then therein was the primary reason for reduced donations the following year.

Who’s the most generous with cash? Energy companies and utilities lean heavily on direct cash donations. Financial companies, and then manufacturers, primarily fund philanthropic donations through their charitable foundations. Companies in the CPG, health care and retail industries leaned toward non-cash donations. And another unsurprising trend: the more business a company does business abroad, the more likely international donations are a large part of those philanthropic portfolios.

So large donations from the corporate world are not going away--they are evolving and becoming more focused as more companies desire a solid business case for corporate philanthropy. Corporate social responsibility in part means keeping close tabs on those monies and ensure their maximum effectiveness.

Published earlier today on Triple Pundit. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).

Image credit: CECP.org

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.