On the right track

In 1968, 70% of Americans answered “yes” when asked “Does business act responsibly?” By 2008, according to a Yankelovich and CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll, that percentage had dropped to 20%.

But that trend may be heading the other direction, even under recessionary conditions, thanks to the hundreds of companies in America who are getting on board with the notion that corporate social responsibility is an integral part of any business plan. The statistics track the trends. For example, Cone Inc. just released the 2010 Cone Nonprofit Marketing Trend Tracker, which found that 59% of Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a partnership between a nonprofit and a company. And, according to the 2008 Corporate Giving Standard Survey conducted by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, 53% of 137 surveyed companies (including 55 of Fortune Magazine’s 100 largest public companies in America) actually increased giving from 2007 to 2008, 27% of those by 10% or more.

corporate charitable giving stats

Also encouraging is the fact that although some companies’ current charitable giving is trailing budgets of years past, experts agree that companies are unlikely to derail their giving plans entirely. The following quote, which appeared in “A Stress Test for Good Intentions” from the May 14, 2009 issue of the Economist, sums it up quite nicely: “Scrapping such activities altogether would be extremely damaging to [companies’] reputations and profits.”

The bottom line is that doing good while doing business is just darn good business.