By now you’ve likely seen and read CECP’s incredible annual Giving in Numbers report. Released this week, the report is the preeminent recurring research study of our practice, polling more than 250 leading companies on their corporate citizenship activities. In 54 colourful and well designed pages, the report provides a snapshot of the trends and statistics shaping corporate giving and volunteering.

Now that you’ve read it, you’re probably wondering: How can I use this report to show my boss where we stand? And: How can I use it to back up my request for a bigger budget next year?

Look no further! We’ve done the work for you. Here’s a list of the most relevant stats from the CECP report, why they matter, and what you can do about them.

night office

By Corey Diamond

Among companies giving at least 10% or more since 2010, median revenues increased by 11%, while revenues fell 3% for all other companies.

We now have a definitive link between giving and business growth. We are entering the era of strategic philanthropy – the thought that you can strengthen your business by supporting causes that are relevant to your core business and its employees. Knowing this, you can now develop a more intentional giving and volunteering strategy. The first step is to internally find the right leaders and let them become your evangelists.

In 2013, 86% of companies matched employee contributions to qualifying nonprofit organizations.

Odds are, you have at least one element of a matching gift program. Most likely it’s based on cash contributions with a minimum and a ceiling. You may have a Dollars for Doers program as well. While this is clearly part of best practice, having a program on its own isn’t enough. Knowing that the median participation rates for matching gift programs are 9%, and participation in Dollars for Doers programs is a paltry 3%, you need to ask yourself how you’re going to boost those numbers. Every dollar that gets donated by your company should touch as many hands as possible. Remember: the goal is engagement. If you engage your employees, you’ll drive more participation, leading to maximum impact in the community.

Dollars for Doers participation rates are still too low – only 3% of employees take advantage of your incentive.

We love Dollars for Doers programs. They provide a great recognition tool, providing your employees an incentive to volunteer in the community. Nonprofits win twice accessing time and money, but we continue to be frustrated with the shockingly low participation rates. It remains the Incentive Nobody Wants, because all too often these programs include prohibitive minimums that fail to recognize that most people just don’t volunteer. If you have set your threshold for an incentive at 40 hours of volunteer time, you’ll be missing more than 75% of your workforce, and you’ll only be giving money to people who are already volunteering. Keeping your volunteer match programs a central part of your program portfolio is a good idea, but combine it with a strategy that includes everybody and you can make it a great idea!

Cash contributions shifted from foundations to corporate giving, highlighting a broader industry trend of aligning giving to business practices.

While 79% of companies operate a corporate foundation, growth in cash contributions from 2010 to 2013 came predominantly from Corporate Community Affairs (CCA) budgets. The average CCA cash contribution increased by 28% from 2010 to 2013, whereas foundation cash gifts increased by only 2%. This is further evidence of philanthropy aligning with core business. While this is a good trend, we’re still dismayed that …

Only 22% of companies reported that their company measured the business value of employee volunteerism and partnered with HR to include questions about job satisfaction in employee surveys.

Recent studies have concluded that corporate volunteering programs make better employees. Some companies are aligning volunteering opportunities directly with skills development. If you haven’t already, buy your HR professional a coffee and engage them in measuring the true impact of your programs.

Median giving as a percentage of revenue steadily increased from 2010 to 2013 (now sitting at 0.141%).

Every industry and every business is different. However, benchmarking against a national average provides a bellwether as to the level of your company’s commitment. And it’s not only a commitment to solving complex social and environmental issues; it’s a commitment to your employees and customers. If you can, undertake a benchmarking study to see where you fit amongst your competitors. If you need some tips on getting started, drop us a line via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Aggregate giving has risen 15%, largely because of deeper investments in volunteerism and product giveaways.

Aggregate giving rose 15% among companies reporting from 2010-2013 to $17.55 billion; 90% of that increase ($2.2 billion) comes from non-cash giving. Companies continue to realize the benefits of unleashing the power of their people and their products to help nonprofit partners. Some companies are going even further, connecting their cash and non-cash giving. Check out’s 1/1/1 program to see how they are leveraging all they can to drive community impact.

In 2013, 50% of CECP respondents claimed to have a pro bono volunteering program, up from 34% just a few years ago.

The contribution of business services and skills to address complex social issues, pro bono services are typically donated by an employer lending their employees’ skills to nonprofits. It can come in different forms, sending people to a project in a developing country, lending skills to a local community organization, or providing flex time for employees to work on issues close to their heart.

Either way, we’re thrilled about this powerful trend in skills based volunteering. But starting a pro bono program isn’t easy; you’ll need to understand the investment required, the types of skills you have to donate, your geographic or cause focus, and the best methods with which to measure.

Remember that pro bono isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s perfect for Stage 2 and 3 volunteers, but that likely comprises only 25% of the volunteers in your company. Be careful not to invest too heavily in a pro bono strategy without offering meaningful experiences for people to fall in love with volunteering first.

Providing time off for volunteering is the most effective tactic to increasing employee satisfaction.

The breakdown of responses from 135 giving professionals asked about the most effective socially motivated tactic for increasing employee satisfaction is as follows:

  • Volunteer time off: 47%
  • Year-round matching gifts: 22%
  • Communicating internally about signature programs or large grants: 21%
  • Matching gift events (e.g., United Way Campaigns): 9%

As we’ve written, there are four conditions for a successful corporate volunteering and giving program. Structure is one of those conditions. Have you developed the right policies and tools to make it as easy as possible for your employees to volunteer? Is it time to revisit your existing program to avoid volunteer fatigue? Never let your program get stale; your employees are changing, their habits evolve with advances in technology, and it may be time to develop the right structure to address this.

There are many more nuggets to be found in the CECP report. We trust this can help you build your business case to expand your program next year. We’re always happy to help, so give us a call, email us, or reach out on Twitter or Facebook if you’d like to discuss anything!

Corey Diamond
Partner, Business Operations
Follow Corey on Twitter
Connect with Corey on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed