Corporate Giving Tops $26 Billion in 2018, Industry-leading Report Finds, up 11% Since 2016

Companies in top 25% of corporate giving each contributed $60 million or more in social investments
Oct 17, 2019 12:00 PM ET
Press Release

NEW YORK, October 17, 2019 /3BL Media/— As the unrivaled leader in benchmarking on corporate social investments, in partnership with companies, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) found in their annual Giving in Numbers: 2019 Edition report that leading corporations are intensifying efforts to meet key societal needs around the world.

Among the key findings in this year’s report are that total corporate social investments increased by 11% over three years to a record $26 billion; international giving rose 10% from 2016; volunteer participation rate among employees stayed steady at just over 33% but companies reported higher engagement rates when offering more flexible volunteer opportunities; and measuring the business impact of corporate investment programs is vital for higher levels of total giving and volunteer participation rates.

The top 25% of companies—or top quartile--when measuring total giving, gave at least $60 million in 2018, or 1.94% of pre-tax profit. Median total giving in 2018 among all 250 respondents was $20.7 million (0.94% of pre-tax profit).

“Corporate social investments grew again in 2018. This is evidence of the unyielding commitment businesses have made to responding to the needs of their significant stakeholders,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “Companies can always do more but Giving in Numbers substantiates the role business plays in investing in solutions to critical social issues.”

CECP, a coalition of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies with a combined annual revenue of more than $7 trillion, released Giving in Numbers: 2019 Edition, the premier industry survey and research of 250 global corporations, providing standard-setting criteria in a go-to guide that has defined the field and advanced the movement. Now in its 14th year, Giving in Numbers has the largest and most historical data set on trends in the industry, shared by more than 500 multi-billion-dollar companies representing more than $250 billion in corporate social investments over that time span. 

“With new data that responds directly to the questions of CECP’s network leaders and expanded sections on measurement and global giving, I’m particularly proud of how Giving in Numbers continues to grow and evolve to lead the practice,” said Carmen Perez, Senior Director, Data Insights, CECP. “Businesses rely on data-driven trends to make key decisions every day and this report offers leading companies the opportunity to make purposeful assessments for their own corporate social investments.” 

Key findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Total giving increased: Almost six out of ten companies increased giving in a three-year matched set between 2016 and 2018. Median total giving increased by 11%. The Health Care industry was the main driver of this increase in contributions.
  • Funds used to match employee donations decreased: The overall median dollar value of matching gifts decreased by 7% between 2016 and 2018. Twenty-one percent of respondents reported matching gifts budget decreases as a leading cause of the decline; Dollars for Doers and Disaster Relief were the only matching gift programs that increased their median cash contributions in the last three years.
  • International giving is on the rise: There was nearly 10% growth in international giving, signaling greater impact across the scale of the multi-billion-dollar companies represented in Giving in Numbers.
  • Volunteer participation remains strong, driven by time flexibility: The average volunteer participation rate has remained steady around a value of just over 33% in the last three years. Volunteer participation rates are boosted when employees have access to more flexible volunteering opportunities. There is an increasing trend of companies offering both Paid-Release Time and Flexible Scheduling, so that employees can decide whether they volunteer on or outside company time.
  • Volunteered hours increased, driven by access to hours away from work to volunteer: For the first time, the Giving in Numbers Survey asked for data on the number of annual hours that companies are offering employees, which in 2018 was 20 hours on average. This helps support the growth in reports of total volunteered hours collected on and outside company time increased by 3% in the last three years.
  • Human capital focused on community investments on the rise: The Giving in Numbers data show the continuing growth of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) contributions staff. The aggregate number of contributions FTEs continued to grow at a faster pace than the overall companies’ employee headcount. A significant proportion of companies even saw increases in the number of contributions FTEs despite overall employee headcount decreases, which may be related to managing larger cash budgets and a higher number of volunteer programs offered by companies.
  • Measurement of business impact is a key factor in maximizing resources: Companies that not only measure social outcomes and impacts of community investments/grants but also measure the business value of such community investment attain higher levels of total giving and volunteer participation rates.

Key insights from the Giving in Numbers survey of 2018 data were released before an audience of 300 corporate societal investment professionals affiliated with CECP at the CECP Summit in May 2019. CECP also created earlier in the summer an accompanying infographic illustrating five indicators from Giving in Numbers to accompany the organization’s newest trends release, Investing in Society, the corporate sector’s annual purpose report available here.

CECP-affiliated companies access custom analysis of the data at no additional cost through CECP’s secure online portal or by contacting CECP. 2018 data is now available online.

CECP is grateful to Citi Foundation, Newman's Own Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., and The Travelers Companies, Inc. for their support in making Giving in Numbers possible.

Note to Editors: Carmen Perez is available for comment and a more in-depth look at the community investment data collected from 250 of the world’s largest companies.

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CECP is a CEO-led coalition that believes that a company’s social strategy — how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers —determines company success. Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders to create a better world through business, CECP has grown to a movement of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $6.6 trillion in revenues, $21.2 billion in social investment, 14 million employees, 23 million hours of employee engagement, and $15 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their social strategy by providing customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition.