New research has revealed that corporate foundations are becoming more closely linked with businesses.
Corporate Citizenship, a global sustainability consultancy, has released a new report looking at corporate foundations, which are defined as separate legal entities whose primary income is derived from a corporate source.
Based on a global survey of foundations from more than 20 countries, the research reveals that:
· Nearly three quarters (73%) of corporate foundations say that their giving strategy is linked to its parent company’s business focus – this has increased from 58% in 2013.
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· Around two-thirds of corporate foundations say they can imagine their foundation developing a new product or service that delivers a social benefit to society in the future. The aspiration for game-changing innovation is high.
· Just over half (54%) of the corporate foundations surveyed measure their impacts, whilst almost three quarters (74%) want to measure their long-term impacts.
Corporate foundations are moving away from traditional philanthropic cheque writing and towards a more strategic approach to social impact. New operating models are emerging and foundations around the world are innovating to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. The report calls these ‘The Game Changers’.
The study reveals six characteristics of the Game Changers which maximise impact for beneficiaries:
· Business Acumen – Foundations are leveraging the expertise and knowledge of their parent companies to utilise products and services to address a social need
· Strategic Alignment – Game-changing foundations align their strategy to complement and leverage their parent company’s focus, addressing industry or geographical issues
· Focused – Focusing programmes in a small number of defined areas makes it possible to direct the expertise and resources of both the foundation and parent company
· Engaged – Engaging with delivery partners, communities, governments and other stakeholders, the game changers look at what is important and advocate for change
· Impact Measurement – Measuring their impact enables these foundations to understand the real difference that their programmes are making
· Sustainable Financing – Game-changing foundations are embracing social investment models that generate both financial return and social impact
Defining the role that companies want to play in communities has never been more important
Amanda Jordan OBE, Co-founder of Corporate Citizenship and Chair of ACF, commented:
“We live in a time of unprecedented change. Defining the role that companies want to play in communities has never been more important. For many business leaders, a foundation is the surest route to demonstrate a commitment to society. It’s not the right model for everyone, but those companies that do set up foundations often find it’s a safe space. It provides an arms-length vehicle for creating social change, and a framework of good governance and transparency. Now foundations have the opportunity to really focus on addressing key global challenges and innovate for long-lasting impact.”
The full report entitled “The Game Changers: Corporate Foundations in a Changing World” can be downloaded here.