Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Corporate funding

The biggest surprise in the 2005 Giving USA report on philanthropy was that U.S. corporations today give away more of their profits than they did a generation ago. In fact a lot more: during the 1960s and 1970s total corporate giving never exceeded 1.0 percent of pre-tax profits but since 1981 it has averaged almost 50% more of total annual profits, and hasn't dipped as low as 1.0 percent even during recession years.

Er, /blush...if I had a dollar for every occasion in my career when I used "the decline of corporate philanthropy" as the reason for foundations or board members to dig deeper...well I could buy the 2006 annual report, for starters. Is there in the non-profit world any piece of conventional wisdom more universally repeated and believed?

(Note that the above figure covers only giving by corporations themselves, not by individual businesspeople like Warren Buffett or foundations that were funded by business fortunes.)

No comments: