Traditionally, corporate philanthropy has had the aim of helping worthwhile causes while advancing a company’s name recognition, public image and competitive edge. Today, however, the trend toward “strategic philanthropy” – giving in a way that benefits the corporate bottom line – continues to grow as more companies are focusing on areas that resonate with their customers and dovetail with business objectives.
Increasingly, charitable gifts are being viewed as “investments” rather than donations. As a result, companies expect a return on such investments and there is more emphasis on long-term (3-5 years) giving partnerships.
Another tradition approach – pooling funds through an organization such as United Way – is declining because it lacks relationship-building opportunities and generally speaking is less effective in reaching long-term corporate objectives.
Ad agencies that help their clients be strategic in their giving also will help their clients’ bottom lines.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.