Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by US Corporations

Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by US Corporations

News (International)

Global Impact has released its research report, Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by U.S. Corporations.  The study, commissioned by Global Impact and researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, explores the scope and depth of international giving by U.S. corporations.

“Much progress has been made on a number of key global health issues in recent years, but traditional sources of public funding are on the decline; there is a strong need for increased corporate participation in global philanthropy,” said Global Impact President and CEO Scott Jackson. “This study demonstrates there is alignment between the goals of corporate philanthropy and global development; all parties benefit.” he continued.

The study examines factors that influence corporations in their decisions to invest in projects, organisations and communities outside the USA. It specifically addresses the nature of corporate-nonprofit partnerships, qualities that companies look for when searching for nonprofit partners and what makes partnerships successful.

“Giving Beyond Borders” found the two major determining factors that propel USA corporations to make social investments abroad are: needs in local communities (78 percent of 27 companies surveyed said this was a priority);  and, the company’s financial performance in that country (cited by 52 percent of 27 companies surveyed).

“Eighty-six percent of companies that gave internationally said they plan to increase or maintain the size of their foreign giving budget in their next fiscal year,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “That is an encouraging sign for the future of global corporate-nonprofit partnerships. The study shows that deepening evaluation of nonprofits and strengthening the sustainability of these relationships will be important to their success.”

The study also showed that, when creating their giving programs, companies tend to align their business goals and the charitable passions of their stakeholders. In fact, the report explains, corporations seek nonprofit partners that align with their own philanthropic and business goals in the following categories: mission (77 percent), geographic footprint (51 percent) and focus area (40 percent).

The main attribute companies look for when selecting a nonprofit partner is a demonstrated record of producing effective and efficient results (68 percent of 53 companies surveyed responded with this as their top priority). Corporations also weigh a nonprofit’s accountability (25 percent), reputation (17 percent), and size and capacity (6 percent).

“Companies participating in the study also identified assistance with vetting potential nonprofit partners and with developing strategies for engaging their employees in global partnerships as among the resources they need to expand or strengthen their international philanthropic commitments,” Osili said. “This report provides insights that we hope will help both corporations and nonprofits create positive, lasting social change in the global community.”

Among other key findings:

  • Nearly 20 percent of the 27 companies that donated internationally gave only in developing countries.
  • Asia and the Pacific region attracted the most attention from companies that donated internationally, with a majority giving to this area.
  • Companies with a larger share of their sales revenue coming from overseas made more international gifts and gave more money internationally at the million-dollar-and-above level between 2000 and 2010, compared to companies with more than 90 percent of sales revenue from the USA.

The research study, conducted over an eight month period (January through August, 2013), was conducted in three parts: secondary research on FORTUNE 100 companies, an online survey of 59 FORTUNE 500 companies, and in-depth interviews with four major USA based companies.

Scott Jackson explained, “For corporations, this data suggests global philanthropy is not only charitable, but a smart business investment. For charities that are facing challenges given uncertainty in the USA economy and seeing less funding from government, this increase in corporate interest is coming at an opportune time,” he added.

About Global Impact

Global Impact raises funds to meet critical humanitarian needs around the world. In partnership with nearly 100 major corporations and more than 300 public sector entities, Global Impact provides funding to more than 80 U.S.-based international charities through innovative partnerships and employee giving programs. The organization also provides advisory services and solutions to meet the unique giving needs of organizations and donors. Global Impact serves as the secretariat of the Global Health Council and the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureates Collaborative, as well as administrator for one of the world’s largest workplace giving campaigns, the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas. Since 1956, Global Impact has generated more than $1.6 billion to help the world’s most vulnerable people.

  • Business/corporate philanthropy
  • International giving
  • International