Maine Philanthropy Center

Building Connections for Maine Grantmakers

Measuring the Value of Corporate Philanthropy: Social impact, business benefits, and investor returns

Knowledgebase
Publication date: 
March 2010
Source(s): 
Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)
Measuring the Value report cover

Corporate philanthropy is as vital as ever to business and society, but it faces steep pressures to demonstrate that it is also cost-effective and aligned with corporate needs. Indeed, many corporate giving professionals cite measurement as their primary measurement challenge. The industry critically needs to assess current practices and measurement trends, clarify the demands practitioners face for impact evidence, and identify the most promising steps forward. This research report aims to meet that need, by presenting the corporate philanthropy community with an analysis of current measurement studies, models, and evidence drawn from complimentary business disciplines as well as from the social sector. 

Drawing from a set of common questions that senior corporate management and giving professionals often face, this report is organized according to a hierarchy of three conversations:

  • Between grant recipients and their funder's Chief Giving Officer (CGO). The funder wants to know: How to assess whether grantees are achieving the intended results, and how to estimate a "return on investment" (ROI) numeric for comparing and/or aggregating the effectiveness across different grants in achieving social results.
  • Between the Chief Giving Officer (CGO) and CEO. When pressing the CEO for significant commitment to philanthropic programs, the CGO is often asked to articulate a "business case" and demonstrate how supporting the philanthropic initiative will be valuable to business.
  • Between the CEO and the investor community. Investors want assurance that spending on corporate philanthropy enhances (or at least does not diminish) shareholder value. Concurrently, a number of investors ask that the companies in which they invest demonstrate greater philanthropic leadership and social responsibility.

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