This week, we release a study which looks into the ongoing evolution of corporate giving, and what this means for Canadian companies and nonprofit organizations.
Titled Corporate Giving in a Changing Canada, the report has been developed in collaboration with the Business Council of Canada, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), LBG Canada, and Volunteer Canada.
In the last ten years, corporate giving in Canada has responded and evolved to both market pressures and wider social shifts. Corporate philanthropy is alive and well, playing a significant role in the incubation of new ideas and building the reputation of both Canadian company and nonprofit brands alike.
1. Companies are being more strategic
Traditional philanthropy, whereby companies provide cash contributions to community organizations, continues to play a part in the social solutions offered by companies. But more importantly, companies are tapping into more assets - such as their employee time, supply chains, and brand assets - and are acting far more strategically than they have in the past when it comes to philanthropy.
This is what we mean when we say community investment: the broad spectrum of voluntary contributions that companies can provide to strengthen their community, including cash donations, and the thoughtful strategy that ties that giving to their business priorities.
2. Deeper relationships are forming between companies and causes
The study also shows an unmistakable trend towards partnerships, representing a shift in the relationships between companies and their community partners. 78% of those in the study reported they have at least one nonprofit that they consider to be a strategic partner, defined as an organization with close ties to their business and for whom they have a long term commitment. A further 74% of respondents agreed that signature partners have become more important to them in the last five years.
3. Companies are focused on quality over quantity
As a consequence, 42% of companies with partnerships told us they are funding fewer organizations in order to focus on their signature relationships. These findings may be uncomfortable to some: the trend towards fewer companies writing unrestricted checks and instead making long term selective investments and giving of time and assets as well as cash. But traditional philanthropy alone cannot solve social issues – there simply isn’t a big enough pie.
A Canada where we leverage all corporate assets for social good is a move in the right direction. And the good news is that the leading companies in the study plan to increase their dedication to community investment. In fact, 42% of companies in the study expect to increase the size of their budgets in 2019, compared to 8% predicting a decrease.
For more information on the current state of community investment, download Corporate Giving in a Changing Canada.