I just came back from running errands. At almost every store I was "offered" the opportunity to "give a little extra" for charity - this is what I call embedded giving. Charitable gift cards - which I predict will be a big hit this coming giving season - take this even further. I've been trying to figure out how much money gets raised this way. I'm not having a lot of luck, but I've had the chance to talk to some interesting people and read an interesting report. Here's what I'm learning:
According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, corporate giving comes in three forms: as direct cash from the company, as corporate foundation cash, and as non-cash (product or pro-bono donations). The 2006 breakdown for the 136 companies surveyed was as follows:
- Total given (cash and product): $11.2 billion
- Percentage direct cash: 44% ($490 mm)
- Percentage Foundation cash: 36% ($403 mm)
- Percentage non cash: 20% ($224 mm)
In addition to the source of their giving (cash, foundation, in-kind) corporations self-identify whether their gifts are "charitable" or "strategic" (read: marketing). For each type of giving above, the following percents are identified as "charitable":
- 39% of direct cash = $191 mm
- 53% of corporate foundation cash = $213.5 mm
- 56% non cash = $125.4 mm
So here's my question - what part of the $191 mm that corporations write off for charitable direct gifts is actually the accumulation of credit for my (and your) dollars, nickels, and pennies?
And here's another question for consideration - did you know that 47% of corporate foundation giving is explicitly considered marketing dollars?
I'm ever more convinced that we need to seriously rethink our definitions of "capital for social good." And absolutely sure that only a small portion of philanthropy will actually be counted in whatever we decide - because the rest is either marketing dollars or subsidized investment capital.