Nov 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Corporate giving in 2021 lower than previous years

Reproduced from Benevity; Chart: Axios Visuals

What a difference a year makes. 2020 was a banner one for corporate philanthropy — 2021 not so much.

Driving the news: Companies are experiencing "fatigue," according to Sona Khosla, chief impact officer at Benevity, a platform for corporate giving that works with companies such as Apple, Nike and Microsoft.

Why it matters: The spirit of generosity is globally alive and well, Giving Tuesday CEO Asha Curran tells Axios' Mike Allen in an interview to celebrate this year's big day. (Curran started the #givingtuesday trend on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2012.)

  • Corporations, however, have had fewer reasons to beef up donations in 2021 — beyond, of course, their record profits.

By the numbers: The aggregate amount of money donated through Benevity includes both contributions from employees and contributions directly from the employer. Add the two together, and the combined amount, on a per-active-donor basis, is currently at $980. That's 17% below the $1,178 that was seen at this point in 2020 — and is even running shy of 2019 amounts.

Flashback: 2020 saw not only the COVID-19 emergency but also a broad-based social-justice movement. At the peak in June of that year, more than 50% of donation dollars went to social causes, up from a normal level of about 5%.

Beyond the numbers: Generosity is about more than money. Curran tells Mike that she believes in "approaching generosity through the lens of mutuality and solidarity and recognition of our shared humanity, rather than as a divisive definition between people who have and people who don't."

  • "Thinking about generosity through a more radical lens is really about how we're all in this together. And I think we really are seeing that play out from a grassroots level this pandemic year more than ever."
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