Great Opportunities: How Companies Can (And Should) Be Giving More

June 27, 2014 benevity


Summer is here, the sun is shining, and The Giving USA 2014 report has been released. Just like in previous years, it’s a great resource for both charities and corporations, full of timely research on charitable giving in the United States put together by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. We had a chance to dig through it and found it informative as always. We’ve pulled out a few choice stats from the Giving USA 2014 report that piqued our interest – with some observations on what we think they say about the giving landscape, and the opportunities they suggest for companies looking to ramp up their corporate giving programs. 

All stats: Giving USA 2014: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2013


Overall Giving is Up

Overall giving in the United States was up in 2013 to $335.17 billion, a 4.4% increase from 2012, marking the fourth straight year of increased giving. Individuals are primarily driving this increase, making up 72% of overall giving. These individuals are giving to an increasing number of charities, causes and issues. Per-capita giving by US adults reached $1,016 and average US household giving reached $2,974.


Corporate Giving is Down (Slightly)

It may be a common misconception that corporations represent the ‘big money’ in nonprofit fundraising. In fact, corporations contribute the smallest share of overall giving year after year, contributing $17.88 billion in 2013, or only about 5% of total giving– which is down 1.9% from the previous year. 

As the expectations of consumers and employees increase, we think that companies have an opportunity to do more – to give more in general (5% is a pretty small piece of the pie) and to do it in smart, effective ways that help them make bigger impacts in the community while meeting their business goals. And Doing Well By Doing Good is not just a tagline; in 2013, 89% of Americans were at least somewhat likely to switch brands based on their support of social causes, compared to 80% in 2010 and 66% in 1993. There is a business opportunity as well.


What’s going to turn the trend around?

At Benevity, we’re always telling people that open choice is key when it comes to healthy, impactful workplace giving and employee gift matching program, and the GivingUSA 2014 report backs that up. Donors have a strong preference for supporting their favorite charity, giving an average of 67% of their total contributions to their top organization. And the majority of donors – 78% – gave to more than one charity.

Companies can tap into the individual enthusiasm that is growing charitable giving in the bigger picture by offering programs that recognize and fulfill those preferences around choice, options, and impact. People want to give – they’re already doing it in terrific numbers on their own. Companies can make a greater impact by matching those gifts and providing the types of donation currency incentives that increase involvement and impact. A robust employee gift matching program built around open, year-round charitable choice, and year-round workplace giving opportunities that empower people to support the causes they love (with money and/or time) will encourage them to bring their passion for giving back into the workplace. By supporting those passions – and matching more of the gifts their teams are making – companies can give back in increasing amounts, make more of a difference, and connect with their employees for lasting, positive engagement. There are not many ways to ensure that people gain a sense of meaning and purpose from their work; employee giving and volunteering is key!


More Promising Trends

Online Giving is Increasing

Online giving is growing in popularity and in availability (which we love to hear!) but in the bigger picture, it’s still only a small portion of total overall giving. In 2013, less than 10% of total giving was made online (a 13.5% increase from 2012) and most nonprofits continue to rely on traditional engagement of donors, with a full 79% still being contacted by mail. That means that there is more than $300 billion being processed manually by more than 1.2 million charities. Can you imagine what that is costing? Companies need to promote aggretation and automation efficiencies and help their donors understand the true costs of charitable giving.

Volunteers are Great Givers!

We’ve always been stressing the importance of volunteering, saying that it makes people more likely to give – twice as likely in fact! In 2013, 79% of volunteers gave to charity, compared to only 40% of non-volunteers. Working a healthy volunteering option into your workplace giving program will make it easy for your people to give their time and get engaged by pursuing their passions. Reward them for their efforts with donation currency that is redeemable for charitable gifts and give them the opportunity to combine their awesome volunteering and giving power.

We encourage everyone to check out the full Giving USA 2014 report – it’s full of great stuff and a lot of insights.  



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