Giving On Your Corporate Agenda?

Despite Fiscal Challenges, Giving Remains On Corporate Agendas.

It was John F. Kennedy who said,”Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

For many social commentators, service to the community is considered to be a cornerstone of American society and service no doubt includes philanthropy.  Historically, the financial and auto industries have been corporate leaders for providing financial support to numerous grassroots, charitable, and educational organizations which rely primarily on corporate sponsorship.  While philanthropy can go far with promoting goodwill (and tax breaks), it can also constitute a business venture in that it spotlights a business and enhances its marketing appeal.

Not surprisingly, many small businesses (those with less than 100 employees) fail to harness the strength that charitable giving can behold and statistics show that the majority of small businesses give— even in today’s challenging economy.

Considering that each year, over 1 million small businesses are started each year, and that small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, and 50 percent of all private sector workers in America are employed by small businesses, the backbone of charitable giving is defined by small businesses.  Therefore touting the philanthropic horn is an undertaking that most small businesses overlook.

According to a study conducted in August 2008 by American Express, three-quarters of small-business owners surveyed reported donating a percentage of their profits to nonprofit organizations.  On average, small companies contribute 6 percent of their profits to charity.  Interestingly, companies with the highest revenues were the least generous.  Only 69 percent of companies earning more than $1 million contributed anything to charity.  Compare that number to a finding that 80 percent of businesses earning profits between $250,000 and $1 million gave to nonprofit groups, with 77 percent of companies earning less than $250,000 giving to charity.  Some believe that the phenomenon of giving may be closely tied to the idea that many new businesses begin with the goal to fulfill a community need.  Thus small businesses are giving even when faced with the adversity of dwindling financial resources.

What constitutes charitable giving?  Small businesses that give can be quite creative.  Giving can take the form of a donating: community and professional services, products, time, sponsoring community initiatives, local sports teams, providing job opportunities to the unskilled, matching employee cash donations, loaning business space, and promoting employee volunteerism — aside from setting aside monetary donations.  The opportunities to give are vast.

To learn more about how your organization can give, to partner with other corporate efforts, or to spotlight ways your organization is giving, please contact Crystal O’Brien at (800) 899-MMCI (6624).

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