Charitable challenge for business

By Todd Cohen

Good works are good for business.

Companies are giving more, and aligning their giving with their business goals.

But they must do even more.

Corporate foundations gave $3.6 billion in 2005, the most ever, The Foundation Center says.

But while more than half expect to give more this year, roughly one-third expect to give less.

The Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy says 91 companies gave $10 billion in 2005, over half of U.S. corporate philanthropy, and giving grew at 62 of those companies that provided two-years’ data.

Nearly nine in 10 companies offer at least one formal volunteer program, the group says, and nearly half offer paid time-off for employee volunteerism.

But much more is needed.

A new survey by the National Consumers League and Fleishman-Hillard says Americans believe the best proof of corporate social responsibility is treating employees well.

A key way to do that is to encourage them to volunteer and serve on nonprofit boards.

Nonprofits also need more support for operations and to address the growing risk of executive burnout and turnover.

Companies also must be more active in shaping public policies that affect nonprofits and their clients.

Business can thrive by doing more to do good.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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