New questions help expand outlook, metrics on corporate philanthropy
The annual Corporate Giving for Central Texas found that most companies have charitable giving budgets, and a large percentage increased their donations of funds and employee volunteer hours last year.
The 2019 Rodman Report details those and other results from the survey, compiling anonymous responses from local businesses of all sizes and industries. The survey marked its fifth year with the inclusion of several new questions to provide more metrics on how Central Texas companies give to nonprofits.
A few highlights of the 2019 Rodman Report include:
- How companies give: Most companies cited monetary donations (86 percent) and volunteer hours (79 percent) as methods of giving. Group volunteering is encouraged/organized at 60 percent of companies.
- Why they give: Respondents included support for the community/altruism (79 percent), public goodwill (66 percent), and reinforcing workplace culture (52 percent) as the most important reasons for engaging in philanthropy.
- Criteria for support: Companies said their most important criteria for selecting nonprofits to support is the population served (62 percent), followed by employee involvement (44 percent) and the relevance of the mission to customers and clients (43 percent).
- Local impact: Nearly three-quarters of companies support local nonprofits. Also, 45 percent of respondents said their company provided assistance in 2018 to communities or individuals affected by damaging Central Texas flooding.
The study was endorsed by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who provided an invitation message to business owners encouraging them to participate in the survey.
“Austin has a thriving business community. That in itself is a great thing, but it’s even better knowing that our local businesses are forces for good in our community,” Adler wrote in the email invitation. “In addition to the services, products and employment they offer, they also provide nonprofits with donations and employee volunteer hours that help fulfill a variety of missions, from education and human services to environmental and animal welfare causes.”
Lisa Rodman, founder and principal of Rodman & Associates, said that the information gleaned from the survey is invaluable for business leaders and nonprofits alike. “Every year, the Rodman Report provides new metrics that help companies understand how their giving compares to others in the community,” Rodman said. “The insights are also critical, however, for nonprofits to see how their needs align with the giving priorities of Central Texas businesses. This year more than ever, nonprofits can note the direct feedback from companies regarding how they choose their causes to support and how they determine whether their philanthropy is making the kind of impact they envision.”
The study examines philanthropy issues that are hot topics at many Central Texas organizations. Eric H. Jones, vice president of global communications for Austin-based WP Engine, said his company believes participating in community philanthropy “allows our employees to lead by positive example and make a valuable impact to those around us.”
“WP Engine has an employee-led committee called ‘Give Back,’” Jones said. “In every office, the Give Back committee brings opportunities for employees to directly impact the communities in which they live, ultimately helping them grow as good citizens and local leaders.”
The results in the Rodman Report are drawn from the responses of 152 Central Texas companies that participated in an online survey between January 28 and February 28, 2019.
The Rodman Report is available in PDF as a free download. Rodman & Associates encourages the public to freely share and distribute the report and its data, especially among business leaders, employees, and nonprofit board members and professionals.