Corporate Community Investment Practices, Motivations and Challenges

Findings from the Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community (presentation)

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Based on the same survey of the community investment practices of 1,500 businesses as other reports from Imagine Canada as well as roundtable consultations with business representatives, this presentation provides detailed findings regarding corporate community investment practices, motivations, and challenges. (This summary of the presentation highlights findings that were not noted in the summary of the companion fact sheet The Who, How, What and Why of Corporate Community Investment in Canada.)

Regarding business views of not-for-profit organizations, the survey found that:

  • 73% of all businesses agree that “charities and nonprofits generally improve the quality of life in Canada”.
  • 94% agree that “businesses and nonprofits can mutually benefit from a collaborative relationship”.
  • 74% agree that “most businesses that donate to charity would do so even if they did not get any business benefits in return”.

The survey found that 76% of all businesses donated money to not-for-profit organizations, while 97% of large corporations did so. Large corporations donated a total of $174 million. (The presentation does not provide the donation totals for all businesses.)

One-half of all businesses (51%) donated goods or products, and 72% of large companies did likewise. While 43% of all businesses donated services, 59% of large corporations did so. The estimated value of donated goods, products, or services from large corporations was $96 million.

While only 14% of all businesses provided sponsorships, over one-half of large corporations (59%) did so. Eight percent of all businesses and 26% of large corporations were involved in cause marketing. The value of sponsorships and cause marketing by large corporations was estimated at $64 million.

Thirty percent of businesses contributed to arts and culture organizations, ranking sixth among twelve types of organizations. The five types of not-for-profit organizations to which businesses were most likely to contribute were:

  • Social service organizations (66% of businesses contributed to these organizations).
  • Health organizations (also 66%).
  • Sports and recreation organizations (58%).
  • Hospitals (48%).
  • Public or private schools (36%).

Large corporations perceived some challenges regarding their contributions to not-for-profit organizations, including “difficulty responding to increasing requests” (74% of large corporations identified this challenge), “difficulty measuring the impact on business” (58%), “difficulty managing the expectations of multiple stakeholders” (50%), and “lack of company’s resources” (47%).

In order to have greater impact, the presentation recommends that strategies be developed to maximize impact for businesses and the community, new niches for investment be found, and impacts be measured so that contributions can be better targeted.

Summary: 

Based on the same survey of the community investment practices of 1,500 businesses as other reports from Imagine Canada, this presentation provides detailed findings regarding corporate community investment practices, motivations, and challenges. Regarding business views of not-for-profit organizations, the survey found that 73% of all businesses agree that “charities and nonprofits generally improve the quality of life in Canada”.