Forecast for Corporate Giving 2009

Listening carefully to businesses as they react to traumatic and volatile market news, here are my five predictions for corporate philanthropy in 2009:

  1. Overall giving from the business sector will be even with 2008 in spite of drops from the financial sector. Popularity in giving among many larger corporations and mid and small size companies is growing, because of employee and customer interest.
  2. Giving will become more strategic, with companies being highly attentive and selective about the caliber of the organizations they support. The advantage will go to organizations that are well run – as demonstrated by clear information that shows that the organization achieves results; effective CEO leadership; and a board of directors that is engaged and also involving its personal networks of support.
  3. Giving will favor organizations that are transformative in solving global and community issues that are relevant and meaningful, especially in the areas of economic development, education, healthcare, and sustainability (environment and energy in particular).
  4. Companies will increasingly encourage and support high-impact service among professionals and executives who are interested in providing management assistance and serving on nonprofit boards.  This will serve companies’ interests in developing future leaders, while also helping to attract and retain the very best talent.
  5. Businesses will emphasize global service among their employees as a means to build corporate good will around the world and develop their employees’ cross-cultural acumen.

Old corporate philanthropy: put a few dollars here and there for window-dressing. 


New corporate philanthropy: leverage the dollars to help build a better world for thriving communities that benefit all. That’s just good business.