Corporate Philanthropy is Changing

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Corporate philanthropy is changing, and the trends are pointing to a more connected, more socially focused world. Two trends in particular are heartening, and are worth keeping an eye out for – whether in your job search or in your support of various corporations.

Fake philanthropy is out. As millennials move into the market, and as companies fall under pressure to undertake more corporate social responsibility, authentic and meaningful philanthropy is what’s increasingly being expected.

Millennials currently make up half the workforce, and they are seeking jobs that have an impact. In fact, 60% of millennials say “a sense of purpose” is part of the reason they choose to work for their employers and 72% say a job that makes an impact is important to their happiness. Charitable contributions are important to this generation, with over 84% of them making a donation in 2015.

In order to undertake charitable giving that is authentic to the corporation, businesses are also increasingly adopting giving strategies that line up with the corporate mission and their employees’ actions. Microsoft and Google are examples of large companies that have matching programs that give money to organizations where employees volunteer or donate their own money.  But simply having a program isn’t enough. Employees are looking for companies where leadership is involved and supports these programs – like Apple, where Tim Cook almost immediately bulked up the philanthropic operation at Apple upon becoming CEO.

Creating social value is on the rise. Epic challenges like climate change and global inequality are costing businesses money, and they are starting to realize the power they have – within their own business models – to change these trends. Instead of writing off their environmental impact with a check to a non-profit at the end of the year, businesses are starting to realize that their business operations should start to incorporate the sustainable and social outcomes they wish for the world.

Tesla is a great example of this new trend. They are changing the game in the car industry by making popular, quality electric vehicles – and for every car they sell, they are helping the environment. Revolution Foods is another example of this on a smaller scale. They saw a need for healthy school lunches and have launched a successful business that builds organic and healthy lunch menus with students’ input. These companies are making a profit while solving a social problem – moving beyond simple social giving to social change, by integrating their cause and their desired outcome into the operations of their company.

Corporate philanthropy is evolving, and business as we know it is changing. It’s our job to get as many people on this train as possible.

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