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Corporate giving reacts after tsunami

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The experience of giving to tsunami relief efforts only eight months ago is helping corporations throughout the U.S. as they react to Hurricane Katrina, the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy says.

The New York group surveyed 56 companies in the wake of the tsunami in East Asia last December and compiled a list of five lessons businesses are leveraging as they face Katrina.

First, corporations must act quickly when facing disasters, and in the wake of the tsunami, four in 10 businesses surveyed said they formed partnerships with charities, and almost two in 10 have since created readiness plans to allow them to deploy resources faster.

Businesses also learned that it is best to give cash early, enabling charities to move quickly, followed by donations of goods and services.

Employees expect their employers to act promptly and generously, respondents said, and in response, many corporations are removing matching limits for Katrina relief and are encouraging senior executives to make personal gifts.

In an effort not to neglect existing charitable efforts, two in three companies say funds they donated for tsunami relief were in addition to their customary philanthropic expenditures.

Many respondents say they also will increase their international charitable efforts that, before the tsunami, had been focused primarily in the U.S.

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