Austin American-Statesman: Rodman Report shows local businesses ‘give more than ever’

A March 14 article in the Austin American-Statesman touts the results of the Rodman Report, providing a rundown of its key findings and gaining insight from two businesses that participated in the Survey of Corporate Giving.

In “Survey says Austin businesses give more than ever,” Monica Williams wrote: “Business philanthropy continues to grow in Austin, with more local companies giving to nonprofits and increasing their philanthropic budgets, according to an annual survey by Rodman and Associates, a local philanthropic advisor.”

Williams interviewed Steve Simmons, business development director for Amy’s Ice Creams, and Greg Pierce, owner and founder of Zuma Office Supply. Both companies were represented in the survey, and both Simmons and Pierce discussed how the ways that they support local charities and engage their employees in those efforts.

The Rodman Report covers many different metrics of corporate giving in Central Texas. A few of the key insights include:

Who spearheads giving. To find the decision-makers, start at the top of a company’s flowchart. In 44 percent of companies, owners or executives drive philanthropic efforts. In most other cases, efforts are led by directors/executives (17 percent), marketing/public relations (14 percent) or are employee-driven (12 percent).

What they donate. Monetary donations (80 percent) still lead the list, but there are other significant ways that companies contribute. Many companies allow their employees to take volunteer hours (73 percent) as a way to support nonprofits.

The causes they support. For the third year in a row, companies were most likely to cite education (70 percent), human services (58 percent) and health and wellness (55) percent as the types of causes they support.

The study is endorsed by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who provided an invitation message to business owners encouraging them to participate in the survey. Austin City Council Member Alison Alter, who is also a philanthropic adviser, supports the initiative, as well.

“Austinites are proud of our philanthropy, and it’s only natural that we expect our culture of giving to be reflected in the choices made by businesses throughout the year,” Alter said. “We want to know that the companies doing business here and their leaders care about the health and vibrancy of our community. I’m pleased to say that I believe the results in the Rodman Report bear this out.”

Alter noted that nearly all of the companies surveyed said they give back in some way, and a majority of them have a giving budget that grew over the last year.

“That’s good news for the causes supported through monetary donations, volunteering or other means. And it is good news for all of us in Austin who believe that a spirit of giving and good corporate citizenry go hand-in-hand,” Alter said. “I hope that this data and the conversation it sparks will inspire more businesses to invest in our community and their employees through active philanthropic programs.”

Download the 2017 Rodman Report.