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Canadian companies shift giving approach

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Many of Canada’s largest corporations, looking beyond writing checks, are adopting new approaches to giving back, says a new study.

More than eight in 10 Canadian corporations with annual revenues exceeding $25 million support employee volunteer activities, says the study, “Corporate Community Investment Practices, Motivations & Challenges: Findings from the Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community.”

Conducted by Imagine Canada and funded by EnCana Corporation, the study says nearly eight in 10 large Canadian corporations allow employees to work around their volunteer schedules, and more than seven in 10 organize and sponsor volunteer events.

More than seven in 10 have payroll-deduction programs, and more than six in 10 provide matching grants for employee contributions.

Canadian corporations also are working social responsibility into their business plans, with nearly three in 10 engaging in cause marketing with nonprofit partners.

“You can’t just put a dollar value on corporate giving anymore,” Mary Ann Blackman, manager of community investment for EnCana Corporation, says in a statement. “Large companies are stepping up to the plate and devoting a wider range of their assets and resources in the name of building healthy communities.”

But Canadian corporations still have some work to do in terms of improving their giving, the study says.

The total value of contributions from large corporations, which amounts to one percent of pre-tax profits, is lower than that of the broader business community, which stands at 1.25 percent.

Large corporations also tend to focus on mainstream charities instead of branching out to lesser-known and newer organizations, the study says.

Launched in 2005, Imagine Canada conducts research on the Canadian nonprofit sector and fosters relationships between charities, businesses and government.

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