Smart Giving Is Good Business

Curt Weeden

Book of Nathan cover

Two decades ago, corporate giving averaged 2% of pre-tax earnings for charitable causes. In recent years, company donations have fallen to around 1%. The lower levels of corporate support are particularly painful at a time when so many of America's 1 million-plus nonprofits are desperate for funding.

While very small businesses (with assets under $250,000) commonly support local charitable causes at a level equal to well over 2% of their pre-tax earnings, it is America's largest businesses that are holding back their charitable support.

There are over 67,000 super-sized companies with assets in excess of $10 million that are truly the elephants of the corporate philanthropy field. These are the firms that should be the charitable giving leaders in every industry segment. Yet with some exceptions such as Starbucks, Target, and a small cluster of other major businesses, they are not. Some of the largest companies set aside less than 3/10ths of 1% of their profits for charitable giving.

If American businesses could be convinced to ramp up their philanthropy to just 1% of pretax earnings (1/2 of what it was 25 years ago), an additional $8 billion would be injected into the nonprofit field each year.

What stands in the way of companies doing what they used to do in the charitable field? Smart Giving Is Good Business tackles the 13 questions businesses most frequently ask when weighing whether to spend more or less on contributions. The right answers to these questions promise to pave the way to a larger philanthropic commitment on the part of any company regardless of size.

Smart Giving Is Good Business is more than a business book. It is a prescription for linking businesses with nonprofits in a way that will preserve or restore services essential to our quality of life.

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About the Author

Curt Weeden is a former Johnson & Johnson corporate vice president who serves as president of Business & Nonprofit Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on business social responsibility strategies. A recognized authority on philanthropy and social responsibility trends, Weeden founded and led the national professional organization Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals (ACCP). His articles and op-eds appear frequently in major mainstream publications (e.g., BusinessWeek, USAToday, etc.). He has authored six critically acclaimed books, including Smart Giving Is Good Business and the novels Dutch Island, Book of Nathan, and The Sorcerer of Wiz.