Canadian Corporate Community Investment Benchmarking Report

Executive Summary

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Based on a 2012 survey of 180 community investment professionals working in Canadian businesses, this report examines how businesses support community initiatives. The survey found that the four most common types of community investments are “contributing money to community organizations; providing contributions through sponsorships or marketing activities; providing in-kind resources, services and goods; and supporting employee volunteering programs”.

The surveyed companies contributed a total of $710 million to community organizations in 2011. Almost three-quarters of the business contributions (72%) came from just 13% of the companies surveyed.

Overall, 77% surveyed businesses contributed funds to civic and community organizations, while 67% contributed to health care organizations. “On average, companies reported that they supported five sectors.” Percentages for arts and culture organizations are not provided in the brief Executive Summary. (The full report is available for purchase for $1,195.)

Almost one-half of surveyed businesses have a program whereby the company matches employee donations to an organization. Matching gift programs contributed $63 million to not-for-profit organizations in 2011. The press release for the report suggests that “matching gift programs represent untapped potential”.

The survey asked respondents whether they were maintaining their community contributions in the challenging economy. The press release indicates that 85% of surveyed companies “maintained or increased their community investment programs” over the past five years.

In terms of motivations for community contributions, the survey found that “enhancing company culture and reputation is a primary motivation behind many community investment programs”, with a lesser emphasis on directly business-related motivations (such as “risk mitigation, maintaining the corporation’s social licence to operate, and investing in the community as part of a strategy to manage regulatory pressures”).

The staffing levels in corporate community investment programs are relatively low, with 41% of companies reporting one employee or less in this area. Sixty-nine percent of companies indicated that corporate presidents and CEOs are “very involved or extremely involved in the community investment program”.

Summary: 

Based on a 2012 survey of 180 community investment professionals working in Canadian businesses, this report examines how businesses support community initiatives. The survey found that the four most common types of community investments are “contributing money to community organizations; providing contributions through sponsorships or marketing activities; providing in-kind resources, services and goods; and supporting employee volunteering programs”.