What brings value to a company? Beyond the factory floor, away from the offices, it’s an organization’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen that’s important, according to this month’s online survey conducted by Conkling Fiskum & McCormick.
To the 600 respondents, being a good corporate citizen means more than writing a check to charity. “People do pay attention to how you run your business,” says Carol Lewis, CEO of Seattle-based Philanthropy Northwest. “It isn’t just about who you give money to, it’s your own environmental practices.”
The average corporate charitable donation in Oregon was about $9,500 in 2006, according to Philanthropy Northwest. Lewis adds that corporate donations tend to be small. In 2004, corporate giving dipped 1% overall, but among the giant companies, such as Microsoft and Safeco, giving grew 3.4%. In the United States, 11% of all grant money comes from U.S. corporations.
As Northwest organizations take on a national and global perspective, companies will begin to narrow their focus for support, says Lewis. First come donations to hometown groups and organizations to keep the local community infrastructure strong, but as companies grow, single issues become more important, she explains. Companies find they can be much more effective if they focus their donations.
Supporting philanthropic employees is another trend to watch. “It’s encouraging to see more employee matching programs,” Lewis says.
— Colleen Moran