Definition Of Corporate Philanthropy
Corporate philanthropy involves the act of donating to a charity or a foundation whose mission is to fight a cause and deliver social impact. The donations can consist of monetary help as well as in-kind contribution.
Breaking Down Corporate Philanthropy
The term philanthropy comes from ancient Greece and literally means “love for the humankind”. In the past, this practice was narrowed down to moguls’ big donations which had the primary goal of showcasing the donor’s good heart and sensitiveness. Over time, the concept broadened until including corporate social initiatives, growing from a donation-based notion to a richer and deeper framework.
While philanthropy can employ different techniques, one way most companies donate to charity is through matching gift programs. The latter consists of acknowledging how much the employees are donating and then matching the amount, doubling or tripling it. Take Apple, for instance. Since Tim Cook became CEO, the Cupertino giant donated more than $50 million to charities and non-profits.
Collective imagery sees corporate philanthropy as an activity that can have a positive impact on the organization’s brand image. Also, it can be a powerful point of differentiation. Nevertheless, it’s important to underline that the pure act of donating profit shares is not enough. Big and successful companies need to truly believe in the causes they are supporting. They must show interest and raise their voices. Moreover, stakeholders are interested to see how donations and grants integrated with their overall business model.
In summary, philanthropy nowadays is not pure charity anymore and it needs to showcase the company’s own identity and mission in order for it to be effective and praised.
Why is corporate philanthropy different from CSR?
Both concepts are often used in the same way. But there are some differences.
Corporate philanthropy is meant to be driven by a desire to make a social change. The company just makes donations of property or money to have an impact and improve their brand image. But it isn’t involved in the corporate main activities.
Corporate social responsibility, on the other hand, is really integrated into the company’s activities and identity.
Corporate philanthropy examples
To have a better idea of what corporate philanthropy looks like, corporate giving programs made by other companies are the best starting point.
One of the best is Apple’s. The company has given 78 million dollars to charities through matching gifts and volunteer employee programs. Per year, each employee gives 10 thousands of dollars to charities. That’s a lot. This is improving efficiently Apple’s brand image.