The Results Are In: CAF America Survey

How The Giving Landscape and Strategic Initiatives Have Changed During COVID-19

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it's that to survive and thrive, we need to be prepared for the unpredictable. While that sounds daunting and even impossible, it’s the job. Corporate giving is sound in its meaning and purpose. But if it is ineffective in a time of crisis, what good is it? Your corporate giving strategy is more important now than ever.

The pandemic has forced many organizations to reevaluate their strategic approaches to philanthropy - from giving and engagement, to the disbursement of funds. Where barriers to giving were erected early on in the pandemic, innovation and optimization prevailed, and recent survey data demonstrates, we have witnessed incredible acts of generosity domestically and internationally. With the onset of the pandemic, like most, we didn’t know what to expect.

Giving In A Time Of Coronavirus

Since the earliest days of this global pandemic, Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAF America) has been collecting data and making it available to philanthropists who want to make a difference. For months, over 1700 Global charitable organizations have been surveyed, allowing them to tell the story of unfolding trends amid the disruption and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past week, in partnership with CAF America and The Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP), we released the most recent survey results, the fourth in CAF’s series of COVID-19 reports, entitled The Voice of Corporate Philanthropy in Response to COVID-19 Worldwide.

Capturing the voices of 73 corporations, across all major industries, and ranging from  Fortune 100 and 500 companies, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this diverse group of respondents shared the impact the pandemic has had on their philanthropic giving and global response efforts.

According to the report, 72% of respondents have increased their giving over the last three months, including one-quarter of the corporations surveyed giving 10-25% more, and over 12% giving over 50% more. Giving remained at the same level for 20% of those surveyed, with 8.5% of respondents giving less. In terms of issue area, the four highest needs addressed were in disaster relief (72%), health (69%), food security (62%), and education (51%). 60% of the surveyed corporations are giving internationally.

“While the pandemic upended 2020 strategic planning initiatives, the response we saw from our clients was nothing short of miraculous and inspiring. As we witnessed, and this report validates, charitable giving is up, and this trend is only projected to increase. The level of speed with which we saw organizations introduce relief programs, and the agility, tenacity, and innovation to get funds to those in need demonstrates a true commitment to the cause. Those that may have been less prepared pivoted their programs, dedicated resources, and were still able to provide much-needed relief.” - Mark Layden, CEO of CyberGrants


Meeting Need With Speed And Agility

For some time, we have been talking about the importance of Agile Social Impact - the need to respond immediately to emerging events, innovate faster with new programs and initiatives and optimize continuously to increase impact. The ability to scale and systematize giving programs via software is the key to delivering on those three objectives. By tightly aligning your philanthropy efforts with your overall objectives, Agile Social Impact allows you to respond faster when the need is greatest, and maximize the impact of your donations.

The report confirms the growing need and call for flexibility and agility in the approach corporate America is taking toward giving. Highlights from the survey indicate that respondents have increased alignment of their philanthropic efforts with their core purpose and have broadened their philanthropic strategy to meet the challenges of immediate relief funding. This includes greater engagement with employees to determine giving approaches and decision making, as well as shifts in geographic and issues-based giving.

By demonstrating proactive responsiveness as they work to adjust to a new giving landscape, 9 out of 10 respondents offered greater flexibility to existing grantees, including allowing funds to be redirected to other projects (65%) or operating costs (49%), extending grant periods (54%), providing need-based funding (46%), or streamlining application requirements (26%).


CAFASource: CAF America Report:  The Voice of Corporate Philanthropy in Response to COVID-19 Worldwide.

Many respondents reported obstacles in providing expedited support to grantees in the past 3 months. reporting difficulty in getting funds to grantees as a result of suspended programs or operations, 27% reporting logistical difficulties in transferring funds to grantees, 24% in conducting due diligence, and 20% in identifying new grantee partners. In sum, the global giving community has witnessed an unparalleled effort among corporations to assist and accommodate grantees. 


Source: CAF America Report:  The Voice of Corporate Philanthropy in Response to COVID-19 Worldwide.

These data points have illustrated the strategy shifts CyberGrants has witnessed our corporate partners and other philanthropic organizations. Over the past few months, we have witnessed great acts of kindness and giving and also an incredible amount of agility in mobilizing resources during this time of uncertainty. Philanthropic organizations have the unique ability to be flexible, be fast, and efficiently distribute funds and resources wherever the need is most critical.

If you need to create an effective global giving strategy while striking a balance that delivers the right kind of flexible local impact, schedule a quick, 15 minute strategy session with us today.

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