Corporate giving seen undergoing strategic shift

While about half of America’s corporate funders have curtailed giving in 2009, many aim to boost volunteerism and in-kind support and some are looking for more accountability from the groups they fund, a new study says.

More than eight in 10 corporations are encouraging more volunteerism among their employees and almost half are reporting an uptick in their volunteer events this year, says the survey conducted by LBG Research Institute.

About 15 percent of corporate funders plan to increase such in-kind donation as meeting space and office equipment, and 12 percent will give away more of their products this year.

At the same time, corporations are becoming more discerning in their grantmaking, with more than half looking for greater measurability and accountability from their grantees.

“It’s not just check-writing anymore,” Donna Devaul, executive director of the Institute, says in a statement. “Corporations want measurable results and are actively seeking nonprofit partners that can produce win-win, impactful programs.”

About a third of funders are ending relationships with current grantees, the study says, while about the same number are looking for new nonprofit partners, and three in 10 have made their funding-eligibility requirements more stringent.

“Corporate philanthropy is entering a new age,” says Linda Gornitsky, the Institute’s board president, says in a statement. “All the budget cutting and reevaluation that has been going on will, in the long run, make corporations more strategic and deliberate in their giving.”

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