Mid-Sized Businesses Often Fail to Connect the Dots on Corporate Philanthropy

Mid-Sized Businesses Often Fail to Connect the Dots on Corporate Philanthropy

By Eileen Cunniffe

Mid-sized companies, which represent about one-fourth of American businesses, are actively engaged in corporate philanthropy, largely with local charities. Yet even as these companies move beyond “checkbook philanthropy” to broader involvement in causes, a report suggests many have not yet figured out how to reap the benefits of employee engagement in their communities.

A survey conducted by Business4Better shows that while leaders of many mid-sized companies are invested in the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR), they have not fully grasped the potential benefits to both communities and employers of actively engaging employees in their philanthropic programs.

The survey report is based on responses from 173 executives of mid-sized companies and highlights the following sometimes inconsistent trends:

  •  More than 75 percent of companies surveyed engage in CSR to impact their communities, not their bottom lines. Only 12 percent expect “profitable ends” from their community involvement.
  • Mid-sized companies are still heavily involved in checkbook philanthropy, but are increasingly moving toward more comprehensive approaches to CSR, with 40 percent of those surveyed offering employees time off to volunteer and 30 percent engaged in providing pro bono services.
  • The CSR efforts of mid-sized companies tend to be “local and people-focused,” with two-thirds of their support staying within the same state as a company’s main office. Education, the environment, youth services, economic development, disaster relief, and arts and culture are among the areas most supported.

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