Each year, CECP, in association with The Conference Board, releases a comprehensive report of the corporate volunteering and giving industry. By surveying 271 companies (including 67 of the Fortune 100), and providing some of the best analysis in the business, the report details the clearest snapshot and benchmark for practitioners in this space.

The 2015 report was released last week.

At this time last year, we summarized the 2014 Giving in Numbers report with a blog entitled Workplace Giving & Volunteering: The Stats Your Boss is Asking For. For the 2015 Giving in Numbers report, we thought we would give you the stats you need to know. Below is a list of highlights from the report that may help you answer the following questions:

  • Am I doing the right thing with my program?
  • Am I thinking about the engagement of the individual in addition to the social impact I’m helping to create?
  • Where should I prioritize my limited budget to improve my program?

We strongly encourage you to read the entire report

The link between profit and purpose is a strong one.

In a year-over-year comparison, companies that gave 10% in cash and other donations financially outperformed those that didn’t. Proving causality is hard to do with a snapshot like this, but there are other studies that have proven the link, including this one from the London School of Economics.

But despite the evidence, few companies are measuring it. According to the survey, only 29% of participating companies are measuring the business value of corporate volunteering and giving programs. If you’re like most people in the industry, this is a burning question that you’ve always want answered. Some enlightened companies in Canada (aren’t all things enlightened in Canada?) are tackling the ROI of Corporate Volunteering in an effort to tie their programs directly to core business.

So as you toil away each day, wondering if you are making a difference to the health of your company, know that the work you are doing is making your company stronger. Sooner or later though, you’ll need to prove it.

Your company’s contributions likely represent only 0.1% of total revenue.

This should be cause for concern. Average contributions continue to hover at less than 1/10th of a percentage of total revenue. This number hasn’t changed over the past 3 years, despite the U.S. GDP growing 4% during that time. While some companies have increased their giving (more than half of those surveyed report this), others are pulling back, resulting in the number remaining stable. With global attention being paid to increasing social and environmental issues – and the United Nations rallying the world around the Global Goals – are your company’s contributions helping to match the scale of the issues the world is facing?

Participation rates are still low …

Like most in the industry, you have likely developed a matching gift program for donations and/or a dollars for doers program for volunteering. Providing an incentive continues to be one of the most popular ways to encourage your employees to get involved in the community. Despite this, participation rates for incentive programs continue to be shockingly low. The average participation rate for a year-round donation matching program is only 10%; and the average participation rate for dollars for doers programs is only 3%. While we’ve written extensively about this in the past, we were dismayed to learn that 65% of companies offering these types of programs were satisfied with their success!

While it may be encouraging to know that your program is in the same boat as your peers, it’s disheartening to know that everyone’s boat is slowly sinking. Which is why we were happy to learn …

Most community investment practitioners are tinkering with their programs.

The report revealed that 78% of respondents are planning on changing some aspect of their donation matching programs this year. This proves that we’re all still trying to figure it out; it shows a willingness to improve existing programs for greater impact. Some of the best companies in this space have incorporated some common elements to drive more engagement and participation. This includes leveraging the social capital of your “Champions”, developing opportunities that meet people at their highest level of contribution and creating meaningful events that make a difference to the beneficiary and the individual.

Your job is sexy right now!

Companies are seeing growth in FTEs responsible for community activities. Even when a company experiences a downturn, community investment teams either hold steady or grow. Not only are corporate teams resilient during downturns, but leadership teams are bringing “Chief Engagement Officers” closer to the C-suite. You may have noticed a shift in the past 18 months, as the “nice to have” community programs are being consulted on key elements of strategy in the company. This is an encouraging sign, and one not without precedence. Ten years ago, sustainability specialists were in the same position, but over time the position grew in stature. The same thing is happening with your job.

Questions about the survey? Your corporate program? Realized Worth designs and implements corporate volunteer programs. Call us to discuss opportunities for your company, or email us via contact@realizedworth.com. You can also reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Corey Diamond
Partner, Business Operations
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