COVID Impact: The Future of Corporate Giving.
Corporate giving is motivated by the desire to do good and to be seen doing good. Over the past few years, corporate giving has taken on a larger role in shaping brands’ identities and fostering goodwill among their target audiences. These initiatives have always been structured around broader company values. This is understandably so, given organizations devote a tremendous amount of support, time, resources, and money to these programs. Most organizations, as a result, donate to causes within their wheelhouse: Adidas, Nike and New Balance donate to physical education and youth sports groups; Amazon, Google, and Salesforce donate to STEM education. COVID-19 changed the rules. As a nation, we all rallied behind one common goal: flatten the curve, and companies of all sizes helped fund the fight against COVID-19. In the course of the last few months, we have seen giving and donor behaviors shift dramatically. What once may have been seen as CSR-washing, or only donating for the sake of being seen in a positive light, is now expected from all big brands. Some of the most notable contributions from these past few months don’t stop at simply signing a check—they change corporate behavior altogether. Nike Nike announced a $25 million commitment to combating COVID-19, but didn’t stop there. The sports equipment brand shifted its supply chain to produce hundreds of thousands of PPE for healthcare workers across the country, and donated more than 30,000 shoes to front line workers. Lowes Lowes acted quickly and donated $50 million to local communities impacted by COVID-19. Despite the large scale commitment, when Mother’s Day came around last month, Lowes chose to take their corporate giving a step further and supplied $1 million worth of flowers to mothers isolated in senior facilities and separated from their families due to the pandemic. Walmart Walmart took several steps to combat COVID-19, starting with a $35 million commitment to support organizations on the frontlines responding to COVID-19. The big-box store also took steps to waive rent for all Walmart properties, and partnered with Salesforce and State Farm to provide N95 masks and shoe coverings to healthcare workers. Apple Apple donated $15 million worldwide to lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic. Apple also used its global network of supply chain partners to source more than 20 million masks for frontline healthcare workers and has produced more than 7.5 million face shields. Amazon Amazon donated to multiple causes relevant to the pandemic—including $100 million to Feeding America, $20 million to accelerate COVID-19 research, and $25 million for partners and seasonal associates facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. Beyond monetary donations, Amazon is working with food banks in 25 cities across the country to deliver 6 million meals to underserved and vulnerable populations and has donated nearly 13,000 laptops to students across the country. These are just a handful of examples of the hundreds of companies that have stepped up to not only give money, but also shift supply chains, donate products, and reprioritize their corporate mission. We are entering a new era—corporate giving is beginning to go beyond monetary donations. Instead, it instills true change, programs, and ongoing commitments for organization’s employees, customers, communities, and the country at large.