Sunday, July 19, 2009

Companies Can Contribute Skills, If Not Cash, to Nonprofits in Recession

In the world of corporate philanthropy, cash has long been king. However, at a time when charitable cash contributions are being squeezed, when 76 percent of corporate donors acknowledge they must adjust their giving strategies, and when there is renewed emphasis on volunteerism, this one-track "show me the money" approach is untenable.

It's time to expand the traditional definition of corporate giving, to encompass what many business leaders consider their most valuable asset: the skills of their employees.

According to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, 95 percent of nonprofits need more skilled volunteer support. And while 78 percent of corporations agree their employees' skills would be valuable to nonprofit organizations, only 50 percent offer skilled support.

The need for cash, of course, is legitimate and undeniable. However, with corporate donations on the decline, the need to hasten the adoption of skilled volunteering as a complementary giving strategy has never been more urgent. Consider this: Nearly 40 percent of nonprofits will spend upward of $50,000 for outside business consultants in 2009. If they secured skilled volunteering support instead, they could free up those funds for other uses. That's the beauty of skilled services; the money goes further.

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