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Middle Market Philanthropy Supports Engagement

Sarah Steimer

Surveys show corporate charity yields returns in partnerships and human relations for middle market businesses

The corporate philanthropy of yesteryear—images of CEOs handing over giant checks—has been made over. Middle market firms now have an opportunity to step up and get involved in philanthropic initiatives on a level deeper than monetary contributions. Many are choosing personal causes, and they aim to connect with their internal and external communities, steps that benefit both giver and recipient.

The “Giving USA 2016” report by Charity Navigator showed that corporations donated $18.45 billion in 2015, a 3.9% increase from the previous year, and corporate giving made up 5% of all U.S. charitable contributions. A 2015 report on corporate philanthropy from America’s Charities found 60% of companies offer year-round giving. The report also found 60% of small to midsize companies offer volunteer opportunities, 37% have payroll contributions and 28% engage in matching gift options.

The opportunities are nearly endless for corporate philanthropy. According to Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing at Charity Navigator, options include direct contributions, participating in nonprofit special events, attending galas and buying tables or participating in activities. Some companies also allow their employees to take time off to volunteer or to use part of their work hours to donate their skills and expertise directly to a charity.

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Sarah Steimer

Sarah Steimer is a staff writer for the AMA's magazines and e-newsletters. She may be reached at ssteimer@ama.org or on Twitter at @sarah_steimer.