Corporate Philanthropy: It's Not Just for Multinationals

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the space of the last decade or so, corporate philanthropy has become big business. Large organizations are offering matching donations for their employees, they are making financial grants to causes that employees support based on the number of volunteer hours those employees give, and they are allowing staff to use working hours to perform volunteer work.

While there are limits to these offers, they still represent a significant financial contribution on behalf of these companies. Of course, there are benefits for the companies beyond the “feel good” factor of supporting worthwhile causes. It helps them to attract and retain quality staff who see their employer as sharing their values. It also helps the reputation of these companies within the communities they operate and with their customers. It’s an affordable form of promotion that resonates with people more than advertising.

None of that undermines the value of the philanthropy. Organizations wouldn’t be so generous if they weren’t able to get some benefit from their investments, and charitable and community causes wouldn’t receive the funding they so desperately need if there wasn’t a promotional element involved. It works for both parties, which is why it has become so popular.

The problem is that only organizations of a fairly significant size can afford to make …

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