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Corporate Philanthropy That Fits All: How Any Business Can Do Good - and Benefit

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The precedent-setting commitment of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to charitable work is bringing corporate philanthropy to the forefront. After many years of corporate scandals and Sarbanes-Oxley news, the tipping point has arrived. Corporate philanthropy is good—both for business and the nonprofits that benefit from it. And the better news is... you don't have to be in big business to do it.

Corporate philanthropy may be called by a variety of names, including corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, or corporate giving. In larger companies, it can fall under the banner of the community relations, community affairs, or even public relations departments. Over the past several years, however, companies that have realized the potential that corporate philanthropy has to offer their brands have re-allocated responsibility to the marketing and branding departments.

According to Philip Kotler and Nancy Lee, authors of, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause, corporate social responsibility is "a commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources."

Corporate philanthropy (CP) has also taken on many forms in recent years.

Grants/In-Kind Donations


For many companies, grants or in-kind donations are still the preferred distribution methods, allowing companies to spread their CP budget among many community organizations and causes. In-kind donations give companies an opportunity to provide their expertise, services, or products to a charitable organization. Examples: an accounting firm that conducts an organization's annual audit pro bono, an advertising agency that provides pro bono creative, or a bottled water distributor that donates its products to a fundraising run.


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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, a boutique agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a professional speaker, writer, and blogger. She has been contributing to MarketingProfs since 2004. Reach her at elaine@solutionsmc.net.

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