I had the opportunity to attend last week’s “The Evolution of Corporate Philanthropy Conference: Building Value, Creating Change,” hosted by MCF.
- Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51% are corporations and only 49% are countries.
- 40% of all current U.S. federal workers will retire in the next few years.
- Governments can no longer fill all of the gaps; government debt is high worldwide, business is often more trusted than government, and social issues are becoming more of a shared responsibility.
And, then he asked a question: “What’s the impact of corporate philanthropy in Minnesota?”
The room was filled with community affairs and foundation leaders from Target, Best Buy, IBM, Medtronic, Ameriprise Financial, General Mills, Wells Fargo and elsewhere, but the room was silent. No one had an answer.
Every foundation and giving program knows what they fund, some can measure the outcomes of their own giving, but no one offered any ideas on the sum total of their efforts – past, present or future – or mentioned a good (or consistently used) way to measure results.
Pinney didn’t have an answer either, but he believes corporate philanthropy must evolve from being about the money to being about “managing the money to achieve results.”
He says corporate grantmakers must lead corporate philanthropy until it is truly and completely integrated with the business strategy.
He gave good examples of businesses that are further along than most in these efforts, including IBM, Cisco and Starbucks. See slides 33, 34 and 35 of Pinney’s presentation for examples of how they are creating and incorporating shared value into their giving and business models.
Stay tuned, I plan to blog about other interesting ideas discussed at the conference. And, if you were there, please add your own views.
- Susan Stehling, communications associate