The times are changing, and so does corporate philanthropy. Organizations have reconsidered their way of working due to events like the covid19 pandemic. For charity, this has been no exception. The Covid crisis has accelerated trends that were already emerging. We identified four of them about which you need to know. They will most certainly reshape corporate philanthropy in the upcoming years.
1. Corporate philanthropy and tech
From the early days of the pandemic, the use of the internet increased by 70% (Forbes.com). Lockdown happened… And the use of internet grew. Working this way has led to reconsider the usual grantmaking processes. For foundations, it is now common to learn how to manage the entire grant lifecycle with a digital-only approach. Early 2019, only 10% of the US foundations had a website: quite a radical change.
The crisis has been a real opportunity for corporate philanthropy. Stand back from the daily urgency. Declutter teamwork with remote working, and reconsider the usual processes. We cannot ignore the authentic “philantech” approach born from this crisis. Grant projects and events are different now. We see more and more online webinars and forums, online galas and charity events, virtual fundraising events.
It won’t be the only philanthropy approach in the future, but the change has started. Technology has now become a long-term component of modern philanthropy.
2. The need for transparency
Protests of millennials around the world on climate change have highlighted a need for more transparency and action. In a world where we are used to fake news, transparency is the new gold.
For corporate philanthropy, the need for transparency is the same. And this is not an easy task, as every grantmaker knows how philanthropic projects are complex, evolving from strategy to field operations. The example of lost relief funds to India during Covid (as explained by CNN) is a good example. Without complete coordination and alignment between grantmakers and grantees, philanthropy can be an unexpected failure.
As such, corporate philanthropy is more and more oriented to the UN sustainable goals framework. Transparency is a strong pillar and here to stay.
3. A new will to give
In addition to the traditional corporate philanthropy, a new will to give emerges. In 2019, corporate giving in the US increased by 13.4% (according to the National Philanthropic Trust). The trend is here to last: corporations are willing to give more.
But it is different: philanthropy is more and more connected to CSR. It has something to do with the need for corporations worldwide to think about their impact and responsibility. As a result, corporate philanthropy is more and more dedicated to local projects, communities, and social impact.
At the front of this new philanthropic movement, healthcare and tech companies are leading the way. With a significant exposure during the Covid crisis, these two sectors have ultimately challenged their approach between profit and giving. This vital social and local investment will be a basis for the next corporate philanthropy movement.
4. Corporate philanthropy as a branding tool
Over the past decades, large corporations practicing philanthropy were “fancy” brands. If they succeeded, “giving” was perceived as an excellent “must-have” for a friendly brand.
The fancy times are over, and modern corporate philanthropy has become more strategic. It is even the first pillar of a proper branding strategy. According to research led by Impact ROI, Environmental Social and Governance have helped reduce employee turnover by 50% and increase sales by 20%.
Philanthropy has also become an expectation of the millennial generation. Young jobseekers and talents are now looking precisely at the company they want to join and choose based on its responsibility.
As a result, it is becoming harder and harder to dissociate philanthropy and business. One can no longer exist without the other.