November 1, 2010

The majority of U.S. corporations gave less to charity in 2009 than in 2008, but the total dollars contributed grew, a new study says.

Almost six in 10 companies surveyed by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy trimmed their giving last year, with four in 10 cutting donations by 10 percent or more.

But the increase in giving by 36 percent of companies helped drive overall donations up 7 percent to a total of $9.93 billion in 2009, the highest total in four years.

A jump in in-kind donations from pharmaceutical companies helped fuel the growth, as did corporate mergers in which giving budgets were combined.

In-kind donations, which grew 16 percent last year, also helped make up for the two-thirds of companies that reduced their cash giving, which in turn fell to its lowest point in four years.

On average, about 29 percent of cash giving was directed to health and social-services organizations, growth of about 1 percent over 2008.

The only other category to see growth in cash donations was community and economic development, which saw an increase of 34 percent.

Even though the number of corporations supporting overseas charities fell last year, contributions to overseas organizations grew 15 percent from 2008 to 2009, driven in part by a few large, multi-year grantmaking programs and donations of pharmaceuticals to needy countries.

Looking ahead to 2010, the report estimates 40 percent of respondents will increase giving, while 10 percent will reduce contributions and half will make no changes.

From The Philanthropy Journal, Nov 1, 2010. www.philanthropyjournal.org