The Chronicle of Philanthropy, considered by many to be the leading source of news and information for the nonprofit industry, released the results of their sweeping national corporate social responsibility (CSR) survey of the 300 largest U.S. companies on the Fortune 500. Among the industry experts sought out for their insight and interpretation of the data was Dr. Peter Frumkin, Research Director of the Satell Institute and Professor of Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Chronicle survey found that gifts by some of the largest U.S. companies rose by 5 percent in 2017, and that the top recipients of companies’ dollars were community causes, K-12 groups, and higher education. Dr. Frumkin attributed this uptick in charitable giving to the dramatic shift that has occurred in how companies contribute donations, and what he called the “redefinition of what constitutes corporate philanthropy and corporate social responsibility” in the modern era.
“The language has changed because the field has changed,” Dr. Frumkin said. “It is part of the fabric of a lot of companies. They weave it into the core business functions of the firm. It’s not just an appendage, like it used to be.”
The survey results illustrate and support Dr. Frumkin’s contention, finding that ‘one-off checks’ and CEO ‘pet causes’ are increasingly a thing of the past, usurped by strategies built into supply chains, marketing, and government relations, among other parts of businesses. Companies are now seeking a broader array of partnerships with nonprofits than ever before in areas like education and work-force development, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability. These kinds of corporate objectives present new opportunities for nonprofits — if they can come to the table with ways to add value to companies’ strategies in key areas.
More details on the survey and analysis from experts like Dr. Frumkin can be found in the accompanying article that appeared in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on September 5. The full article can be viewed here.