By Adam Weinger
Some companies just get it. They understand that nonprofits are out there fighting to make the world a better place, so they institute corporate giving programs that provide more funds, in more ways, to more organizations.
Two popular ways that companies donate to nonprofits are:
In October 2014, Apple informed employees that it will expand its corporate giving program to include all countries in which it has a presence, which extends the program from U.S.-based nonprofits and a handful of organizations in other nations. Apple also announced that its volunteer grant program will give employees $25 per hour for their respective organizations.
Silicon Valley companies have been criticized for a lack of corporate philanthropy, although companies may just differ in how they donate. While Tim Cook is adamant about employees dictating where Apple donates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg separates his business from his philanthropy. He and his wife gave $120 million to help local schools in 2014, which demonstrates his propensity to acquire wealth and share it personally rather than to donate through corporate giving.
Apple will match employee donations up to $10,000 per year, and most 501(c)(3) organizations or equivalent organizations are eligible to receive matching gifts.
Google could not give as much as it does without enthusiastic, benevolent employees. Last year, more than 6,500 Google employees volunteered nearly 80,000 hours of service. In total, Google has matched $21 million in employee donations to over 9,000 organizations worldwide.
Google’s community programs include:
But maybe it’s not a lot of computers, because Microsoft saves nonprofits from having to spend too much on technology through product donations. In 2014, over 86,000 organizations in more than 125 countries received technology donations. The gifts ranged from computers to software to refurbished hardware in an effort to affordably bring nonprofits into the 21st century.
Microsoft also offers a volunteer match program, which began in 2005. Nonprofits receive $25 per hour when Microsoft employees volunteer for at least four hours.
For regular matching gifts, Microsoft employees may submit matching gift requests for donations up to $15,000 per year, which is one reason Microsoft is consistently included in the listing of top matching gift programs.
Pepsi employees strive to improve communities through a number of programs including:
Through a long-standing philanthropic relationship, Shell has donated more than $24.8 million dollars to the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012, Shell and UT signed a five-year, $7.5 million deal to address challenges facing the growing worldwide oil and gas industry. Most of the money will go to research, but nearly half a million dollars will support UT students and programs.
To empower employees, Shell offers a matching gift program. The company matches employee donations between $25 and $5,500 at a 1:1 ratio.
Matching gifts have helped Shell to pursue several philanthropic goals. As of the end of 2014, Shell donations have helped to create more than 35,000 jobs, saved 6.2 million metric tons of CO2, and raised $5 billion for organizations in four continents.
In 2013, more than $335 billion worth of charitable donations were given to nonprofits, and 15 percent of that came from company foundations. Giving by foundations also increased by 5.7 percent from the previous year. When it comes to charitable giving, corporations matter, and the funds they give are a significant portion of the giving pie. Whether it’s through matching gifts, volunteer grants or related charitable initiatives, it’s good to see that some of the world’s largest companies believe in philanthropy and lead by example.
The five above companies are some of the most successful companies in the world. And charitable giving as a core value benefits their bottom line in more ways than just community appreciation.
We hope that employees and companies continue to give back to nonprofits to not only better their local communities, but also improve their business results.
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools and services to nonprofits. You can connect with Double the Donation on Twitter, LinkedIn, or personally contact Adam.