Sunday, April 1, 2012

A New Paradigm in Corporate Philanthropy

Forbes published a study on called

Corporate Philanthropy
The New Paradigm: Volunteerism. Competence. Results.

Click above for link.

Among the key findings:

• The motivation behind corporate philanthropy has an impact on giving and volunteering. More respondents from corporations that are motivated by social benefits in their philanthropy—the latter defined as betterment of the community and world—report giving and volunteering, as compared with respondents from corporations motivated by a commercial benefit, defined here as betterment of the company’s brand and bottom line.

Basically what they are saying here is that corporations aren't into putting out money just to make themselves look good. They really want to make a difference. Making them look good is an added benefit.

• Social and health services, community development, and the environment are the issues most respondents say are addressed by corporate philanthropy. Over the next three years, the biggest increases in priorities should come in fostering entrepreneurship, higher education and K-12 education.

There you have it. Social and health services, community development, and the environment. Also education. If you want to attract corporate dollars... it helps if you can tie it into some of these goals.

In response to the question "What issues does your company currently address through its philanthropy community involvement program?", responses broke down like this:
  • Social Services 45%
  • Environment 44%
  • Community Development 40%
  • Health Services 40%
  • Economic Development 39%
  • Disaster Relief 37%
  • Local Needs 37%
  • Education K-12 34%
  • Civic and Public Affairs 32%
  • Education (higher) 32%
  • Arts and Culture 25%
  • Fostering Entrepreneurship 20%
  • The Military and their Families 17%
  • Religion 12%
  • Other 1%
As you can see, "arts and culture" are down there towards the bottom. So if you are looking to get corporate support for said arts and culture, you have a much better chance if you can tie it into some of the things that are higher on the list.

I like the idea of arts and culture as part of community development, but in order to attract dollars you better have a pretty good plan and argument for how your particular project is going to help develop the community. Education is far more approachable. You stand a better chance of getting funds if you are using art to teach. Use your art to teach about the environment, health, or local needs, and you score higher. Art for arts sake has long taken a back seat to other priorities. One way to fight back is to work the system to your advantage.

I actually do this myself. I present educational shows in the Virginia area on behalf of Great Big Planet.  Just last week I presented a rainforest show at Sunnyside Elementary School in McKenny, Virginia, for K-5 kids. I had a blast, and the kids learned something. And I made a little money.

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