July 16, 2019

Corporate giving increased by 8% between 2016 and 2017. Businesses are becoming more aware of the positive impact they can have on societal issues, and stakeholders and consumers are also pushing businesses to look into philanthropy.

In the past, businesses primarily made monetary contributions but today more businesses are developing corporate programs that leverage corporate resources to tackle issues. Healthcare and tech companies are positioning themselves as leaders of this new philanthropic movement.

A new way of giving

Businesses are replacing one-time gifts with a more strategic approach. This new approach to philanthropy focuses on developing local resources that benefit an entire community.

Businesses often use new tools such as analytics to orchestrate those efforts and measure results. There is a new generation of employees who are likely to seek rewarding career opportunities, including positions where they have the possibility to get involved in those programs.

Businesses see several benefits associated with this approach:

  • Improved reputation.
  • Better retention of customers and employees.
  • Lower costs.
  • Increased creativity and innovation.
  • Better outcome of philanthropic efforts.

Healthcare and corporate philanthropy

Healthcare organizations are uniquely positioned to address social issues like widespread health problems, access to healthcare and overall well-being. These organizations have access to existing experience, expertise and infrastructure that can be used to make a difference.

Humana and its Bold Goal initiative exemplify how healthcare organizations are becoming more aware of their social responsibility. The Bold Goal is a program that uses the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Healthy Days tool to measure overall physical and mental well-being.

Humana set a measurable goal for this initiative. The purpose of the program is to make communities where Humana is present 20% healthier by 2020. The Bold Goal initiative takes a holistic approach that connects physical and mental health problems with factors like housing problems, isolation and loneliness and food insecurity.

Philanthropy in the tech sector

Tech companies have become a force for change via educational programs, hiring practices and a culture of equality. Some companies are making a difference via the products and services they develop. Some products connect individuals to causes they care about while others support the activities of nonprofits.

Here are a few examples of tech companies with interesting philanthropic programs:

  • SalesForce has combined monetary gifts with a program that makes their products available to nonprofits and is also supporting employee volunteering.
  • Amazon puts giving into the hands of shoppers with Amazon Smile. Shoppers can choose which nonprofit will receive a percentage of their purchase on this platform.Google has become a STEM education leader thanks to free online programs.
  • IBM has developed a comprehensive program that encompasses community grants, volunteering and making their products available to schools and nonprofits. The IBM Health Corps program dispatches experts to communities where public health issues need to be addressed, the Smarter Cities Challenges makes experts available to cities that wish to invest in sustainable development.

Do philanthropic programs influence how you see prospective employers? You can make a difference now by getting involved with It's Up to Us. Our events and challenges are designed to help students come up with creative solutions to widespread problems that affect all of us. This could be the first step of an exciting journey that will continue through your future employer's philanthropic program.