For those whose hearts are filled with values of compassion and devotion to serving humanity, it is upsetting to hear how little money some corporations give to charities. According to the statistics from 2014, large businesses only supplied 5% of all the money contributed to causes, compared to the 75% supplied by individuals. While individuals possess empathy and a big heart, corporations are primarily only interested in their financial returns—even when donating to charities!
Looking through the numbers motivates people like me to push more enthusiastically for social change and philanthropic giving. That’s why I look to join volunteering opportunities whenever they arise.
The good news is that companies’ attitudes appear to be changing, at least somewhat. Companies thrive in healthier communities, and the benefits of contributing to those growing communities are becoming increasingly apparent. When buyers have more money and demand stays high, the economy is boosted by the hustle and bustle. The same thing happens for companies who help provide real, lasting support to growing communities. The ripples are obvious: customers with a higher standard of living spend more money and offer companies greater returns.
Throwing fundraising parties is a mere short-term investment compared to the greater investment of the well-being of the community. Jeff Hoffman, a veteran in corporate philanthropy notes that “expertise can sometimes be more valuable than cash.” The more heartfelt a contribution is, the less it matters whether the currency is time or money. One example is supplied by Renee C. Herrell’s piece in the Huffington Post. She mentions a branch of Union Bank opened in a high-school that is run by students. The bank can function successfully, but more importantly, it can offer students an opportunity for professional experience, sampling the possibilities of real world work.
This type of generosity is what we need. The tendency to contribute charitably is typically intertwined with the tendency of business leaders to receive recognition for their outputs, but now many groups see an additional reason to write big checks. Businesses should recognize their position in the community, and aim for an equilibrium in how much they should give and take. Jobs, skill-sets, and knowledge bases are resources that will support people for far longer than a paycheck.