Charitable Programs

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General Overview - Practices around charitable giving.

While there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question on which departments engage most in corporate giving and who they report to, we've used the available data to pull together key findings. Charitable contributions are a philanthropic way for companies to give back to the community. The donation market reached $390 billion donated in 2016, however, corporate donations only accounted for about 5% of this. Organizations may have community relations departments, CSR departments, or even foundations that assist with charitable giving.


An extensive search of the public domain revealed no news articles or guidelines identifying specific departments or reporting structure of charitable donation departments in corporations. The information on the formation of these departments and process was publicly unavailable.


The total donation amount of $390 billion was up 2.7% from 2015. Corporations donated $18.55 billion in 2016, which is an increase of 3.5% over the previous year. Annual corporate donation has increased every year since 1976 except for 1987, 2008 and 2009. The total yearly increase between 1976 and 2016 is nearly $9 billion or 50%.

Determining who to ask in the company can be a challenge for smaller corporations. Who to ask greatly depends on the organization, its size, and whether they have a department in place for this. Each company will have its own set of rules on donations. Researching individual organizations will identify who handles this aspect. Companies may have departments that are dedicated to corporate giving. They may be called Community Relations, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), or a Foundation.


3 questions a corporation may ask itself when deciding on charitable giving are:

1) Will it donate money, time, products or services?
2) Which charities will utilize the donation the best and most benefit the company?
3) Which charities are supported by its employees and customers?

Many corporations place limitations on the types of charities it can donate to or have a ceiling on the amount it can donate per year. The corporate process for decision-making on a charitable contribution is based on:

If the CEO of a company has a specific interest or a charity that helped a sick family member then they tend to lean towards those charities to support.

2) Geographical location (local)- Corporations look to donate to those who can improve the communities in the area in which the corporation exists.

3) Organizations for employee's support
If the company employees are giving their time and support to a cause, organizations may support those causes as well.

4) Causes that interact with the companies business- If a corporation is aligned with a charity with similar business interests, it may be more likely to donate to the cause.
Some corporations do not post its charitable contributions in order to prevent an overflow of requests that it cannot approve. In addition, these companies don't want charities to expect yearly donations, as it may not be possible. The disclosure to shareholders who don't have similar interests could also incite controversy.


Corporations may donate in a variety of ways, some of these include:
1) Corporate grants
2) Matching donations
3) Volunteer grants
4) Payroll deductions
5) In-kind donations


Despite the limited capabilities of internet archiving regarding corporate social responsibility department and charitable giving, we've found information on how many corporations donate annually to charities and the process by which many corporations determine which charities they will donate to. Additional information was publicly unavailable.

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