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Discuss about the  Importance of Corporate Philanthropy to Nonprofits in the United States.

Corporate Philanthropy: Its Declining Involvement and Unfavorable Impact on Non-Profits

This section would take into account the declining factor of philanthropic involvement by the U.S. conglomerate in the year 2016 along with the unfavourable impact it will have on the non-profits. The year 2016 witnessed a drop of 50 per cent in the profit of the company related to corporate philanthropy (Phaholyothin 2017). Corporate Philanthropy has been influential to the survival of the non-profit organization along with the competitive positioning of the companies. USA has been measured in being the top country related to corporate philanthropy.

Figure 1. Factors constructing Corporate Philanthropy

Source: created by author

The issue of whether the companies need to engage in the factor of charitable giving has over the years been the subject of heated discussion. During the nineteenth century, various rulings of the court delivered the usage of the corporate funds for the purposes of charity efficiently illegal (Sz?cs et al., 2016). The Proprietors of the Charles River ridge v. Proprietors of the Warren Bridge case proscribed the exercise of the corporate funds for the activities incongruent to the employed aims of the association that facilitated stockholders in suing their organization for such act of ‘ultra vires’.

Nevertheless, corporations have made an attempt in justifying their contributions towards libraries, schools, YMCA amenities in company towns as a strategy of recruiting employee. During the times of economic downturns towards the end of the nineteenth century, associations gradually more began contributing funds to the purposes of charity, and were competent in defending themselves against the ultra vires claims of the stockholders in courtroom by arguing that these were legitimately related to business, as they were directly benefiting the employees (Sz?cs et al., 2016).

Debates have been there, both within the courtrooms as well as in the general dialogue, about the legitimacy of such corporate philanthropic that has continued into the twentieth century (Jones, Willness & Madey, 2014). These were moreover fashioned by various conflicting forces: a sentiment of anti0business within some contexts that rejected the donations of the corporations as being tainted, the pervasiveness of laissez-faire arguments asserting that it is immoral for the associations in giving away the money of the stakeholders. Adding to that will be the increased examination of the corporate activities as ultra vires.

It has been argued by some that corporate philanthropy has essentially been an ‘agency cost’ that has the ability in bringing advantages to the individual executives along with the managers through development of their personal reputations or prospects for encroachment, however this generally comes at the cost of the wealth of the stakeholders. Several responses materialized, sharing the assurance about the possibility of justifying the corporate social responsibility notion.

The History and Debates Surrounding Corporate Philanthropy

In mapping out of the landscape of the literature, El Ghoul, Guedhami and Kim (2017), recognized four main advancements to the subject, each of which has been pertinent to the topic of ‘corporate philanthropy’: a. Instrumental theories where the activities of CSR are being observed as influential to creation of wealth which is strategic philanthropy; b. Political theories emphasizing the social power along with related corporation duty; c. Integrative theories arguing the needs of the business for incorporating the social demands along with social values for the sake of growth and endurance and d. Ethical theories focusing on the normative questions of the relationship between society and business.

However, all this notions are being defined clearly in the literature. For instance, some equate the corporate nationality with strategic philanthropy with others considering the strategic CSR as being dissimilar from the CSR uses(Grant, 2016). It highlights the ‘competitive advantage’ of CSR, disagreeing on the instrumental advancements like the cause-related marketing that they sustain needs to be assessed as marketing and not as philanthropy.

Likewise, another concept that cuts across these segments is the apprehension with looking beyond the financial accountability to the shareholders and mulling over the relationship of the company with several stakeholders, inclusive of the employees, local communities, media, customers along with the government (Blowfield and Murray 2014). The stakeholder theory takes into account the extent of corporate responsibility in emphasizing the significance of satisfying the multiple stakeholders group. Scholars who have been working along this vein have been insisting on the needs of the corporation for assuming the responsibility for all the varied constituents and being committed towards society’s well-being. However, not all the scholars are sold on this substance. Some have been contend with the fact that despite its connection with corporate philanthropy and social responsibility, in reality, the stakeholder theory offers little regulation to the decisions of CSR beyond the maximization of the shareholders; however, it has no recommendation for ways of balancing the competing liabilities(Cheng, Lin & Wong, 2016). According to Drucker, for converting its social responsibilities into responsibilities of the business, corporations need to seek to roll a social issue into economic prospect along with the economic benefit into the capacity of productivity and well paid jobs.

Even Friedman, despite being critique of the doctrine of social responsibility as being the harmful to the society that is free, admitting the fact that the companies need to invest resources within the local community for attracting better employees (Grant, 2016). Institutional pressures generally play a significant role with the corporate executives finding themselves progressively more under the hammer from several stakeholders like the activists, governments, media consumers and certain other corporations.

Different Forms of Corporate Philanthropy and Their Impact on Non-Profits

Matching gifts:

Matching gifts are stated to be an easy thing to acquire, though it has been a shame that most of the non-profits do not seek them. A program of matching gift is an outline of corporate giving that has been letting the employees decide on the ways their employer facilitates funds related to corporate philanthropic (Jones, Willness & Madey, 2014). With such kind of programs, an employer will be able to match the donation of the employees to the suitable organizations.

Volunteer Grants:

Employers are in the habit of rewarding their employees for their part of volunteerism via the volunteer grants. It is also known as the dollars for doers, these programs of corporate philanthropy let the associations donate to the organizations where the employees volunteer time. Companies generally distribute a specified amount of funding based on the amount of hours that has been spending in volunteering.

Challenge Grants:

Challenge grants are stated to be a challenge constituent. For receiving of a challenge grant, a non-profit organization needs to grant making party for earning the funds upon achievement of a formerly precise task(Cheng, Lin & Wong, 2016). In practical sense, this signifies the fact that organizations need to agree in reaching certain goals for raising of funds within a certain specified amount before it is being received as it has been promised but most of the businesses analyze challenge grants as ways of encouraging the non-profits in going out and raising the extra funds for going along with the contribution of the corporate. 

Automatic payroll deductions

There are ample of bonuses for fundraising when they are set up, but at times it appears to be difficult than some other options to keep it secure(El Ghoul, Guedhami & Kim, 2017). There are various business organizations who offer their workforces to donate a specified or already set amount of their salary as a form of charity. In most cases these types of deductions are automatic and thus the employees and the non-profit organizations would not have to think regarding the procedure. It can be said that if the management of the business organizations encourage the workforce or the donors to spend a small parentage of their salary for charity, it can significantly increase the efforts of the organization to raise funds. To find out the business corporations to check the deductions in payrolls an effective screening of the loyal depositor or donors and continuous updating the information of the employees should be performed (Jones, Willness & Madey, 2014).  The key would be to find out that how many organizations are there that have workforce who support such initiatives and do those organizations have such deduction system. This might be a good option to initiate such activities when some business organizations can make a list of the employees who are willing to participate in such programs.

The Need for Businesses to Engage in Corporate Giving

Fundraise matches

It is widely accepted that the participatory medals that the employees or the business organizations receive for initiating and carrying out such charitable programs are one of the most important and exciting awards to receive. Thu it can be said that there is such a trophy or award named fundraising match and this can boost the mentality of the individuals to take part in such programs. The majority of the business organizations carry out fundraising matches in two possible ways. According to Bereskin, Campbell and Hsu (2016),some of the organizations offer a grant amount for each activity of the employees in such programs. On the other hand, other business organization’s managements sometimes donate equal or greater value of on fund raised by the workforce of that particular company. In today’s world, almost 5% of the United States based money as charity comes from the business corporations. Such business organizations have the needed resources and financial stability to help the organizations (Grant, 2016). There are some business organizations who arrange specific programs to make a significant difference nationally, locally and globally and such behaviours project their wish to help the society(El Ghoul, Guedhami & Kim, 2017). If an individual considers his or her organization to become focused on growth, they should utilize all the necessary tools to raise more funds where the initiatives regarding corporate philanthropy in involved. The non-profit organizations need to grab the opportunities that this big business corporations provide in order to increase the amount of 5%.

The conglomerates actually represent the business organizations that are engaged in various businesses. It is widely accepted that these organizations are multi-industry organizations. In short it can be said that the assets of the conglomerate are used to venture in various types of businesses that have no connection with each other (Grant, 2016). The fundamental concept of conglomerate is to supply adequate income from all types of businesses that can secure the operations of the newly started businesses. The idea of multi-industrial business organizations are not relatively new as in the year of 1960 these types of initiatives became popular.According to Bereskin, Campbell and Hsu (2016),the advantages of doing conglomerate business are naturally long term and at times it may be important to redefine the strategy of business utilizing new technologies. In some specific situations the conglomerate organizations have the possibility of survival in the traditional market until an opportunity emerges for the presence in the developed markets (Blowfield and Murray 2014). It is a matter of fact that the conglomerate organizations are multi-industry companies that have diversified operations and are generally owned by the investors and the founder member. These organizations receive huge support from the government and are enriched by using the network organizations under their conglomerate and enjoy easy access to the knowledge and the market of capitol. In this regard it can be said that Arcelik is a major Turkish manufacturing business organization that manufactures household appliances and they are under a major conglomerate KOC group operating in Turkey. This organization is a publicly owned organization and they have the right to issue or sell bonds and shares of the organization in the stock market(Robertson & Upton, 2017). Usually the securities of the business organization which are traded are certainly the property of the various investors.  

The unrelated diversification of the business organizations are considered in accordance with the destruction of values in the developed markets along with the conventional way of thought process.According to Benn,Dunphy and Griffiths (2014), it can be said that the similar strategy has been used for years and has produced effective results in the markets that are emerging. According to  Blowfield and Murray (2014), various studies show that in the markets that are emerging with the presence of institutional void, the conglomerate organizations can definitely take the advantage of the market imperfections. Thus the diversification of the process can be looked at as a good strategy to take up in the market that is emerging. This strategy is linked with various issues that are mentioned below;

  • What are the institutional factors that can positively influence the growth of the conglomerate in the market that is emerging?
  • Possible alternative strategic response of adjustment of the conglomerates that have highly diversified business ventures as a response to the institutional changes.
  • Recommendations for the top managers and the shareholders of the organizations.
  • The extent to which the institutional context change because of the economic reforms in the nations with emerging market and is higher level of diversification in those situation are sustainable? 

In this regard it can be said that the concentration of the power is restrained to a few companies that have experienced reduced market development institutions in the nations that are developing.According to Bereskin, Campbell and Hsu (2016)this facilitated some more benefits to the conglomerate organizations with efficient investments in order to strengthen the internal capacity that can get replaced with the market failures(Robertson & Upton, 2017). The conglomerates hailing from the emerging markets have identified the changes which are important to change the scope of the diversification if they want to adapt that. For this the managements of those conglomerates can apply three strategies and those are;

  • To focus on the narrow portfolio of the organizations that has international or regional potential.
  • Accumulating large portfolio for businesses that are home related.
  • Building a portfolio of the conglomerates operating in countries that are developing.

As per The Boston Consulting Group the conglomerates also uses five more strategies and those are mentioned in this section of the literature review;

For an example it can be said that Hisense is a Chinese company that owns 15% share in the Tv industry in the domestic market. The business organization has modified the strategy and concentrated on the world market with a range of consumer products such as computers, tools used for telecommunication and air conditioners (Jones, Willness & Madey, 2014).  There are manufacturing units in the market of South Africa, Hungary, Iran and Algeria. The domestic market of China allows the organization to manufacture in cheaper price and provides additional advantages like R&D centres and designs.

This strategy basically is redirecting to the local engineering skills and as an example it can be said that a renowned Brazilian organization Embraer is backed up by the government of Brazil and eventually became the largest manufacturer of aircrafts in the world replacing a Canadian company Bombardier (Grant, 2016). Embraer utilized the local skills of producing aircrafts and manufactured a jet plane. The subsequent merger with a Chinese organization China Aviation Industry Corporation II took place with vision of transforming the Brazilian organization into a global brand and to become largest exporter world-wide.

To explain this strategy example of two business organizations that have been successfully using this strategy is mentioned in this section. BYD is a reputed organization that produces batteries and the company has a production that is labour-intensive relative to the organizations operating in the Japanese market and utilizes the lower labour costs. On the other hand, Johnson Electric is another business organization that produces electric motors for small products like camera or some specific parts of a car(El Ghoul, Guedhami & Kim, 2017). For an example in a BMW car there are almost 100 small engines whose capacity is lesser than mere 1 horsepower. These motors are generally used in the sunroof, adjusting the seats or the window shield and in many other purposes. In this way the management of this organization has been able to monopolize the business of manufacturing small motors in the market of United States.

If the business organizations gets inclined towards using natural resources at first class marketing and at home. In this regard for an example it can be said that a renowned Brazilian organization Sadia and Perdigao have erected numerous sales offices across the world in order to sell necessary raw materials to run pork and poultry industry. 

This strategy is all about applying a model of business that can work in various markets. As an example, it can be said that Cemex is a successful Mexican business organization who is currently the largest producer of concrete cement world-wide. The industry of cement and other building materials is often looked at as territorial producers. This means that the manufactured goods are difficult to transport at the areas that are remote. According to  Blowfield and Murray (2014), the management of the organization understood the fact that investment and know-how can go without an issue in the direction of any market when the transportation of the products would not permit that. In recent years the organization CEMEX has bought various organizations and has built necessary facilities in the market of Thailand, Colombia, USA and in many other countries. The secret underneath the success of this business organization is their unique style of managing the acquisition that is widely known as ‘Cemex Way’(Robertson & Upton, 2017).

In the developed nations the global business organizations enjoy a benefit compared to the companies that are operating in the markets of the developing nations. Institutional infrastructure is the primary benefit that these organizations receive in the developed nations, and apart from that these organizations have a better approach towards the finance market and while acquiring funding sources that are cheaper. According to Bereskin, Campbell and Hsu (2016),these organizations usesuperior technologies. The conglomerates in the developing nations do not have these opportunities and because of numerous reasons these organizations neutralize specific shortcomings and understand the advantages in accordance with the global organization(El Ghoul, Guedhami & Kim, 2017). The conglomerates have a benefit in their domestic markets as in that way the managements can manage to continue the operations while dealing with the lack of necessary infrastructure, legislative gaps and many other issues.

There are few approaches and theories that tend to focus on the connections and interactions between the society and business along with the position and power of the business and their inherent responsibility. These theories also involve both the political analysis and political considerations in the related corporation duty debate. There may be bunch theories in this arena, but the two most significant theories are: Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Constitutionalism.

Corporate Constitutionalism

Many scholars have explored the role and responsibility of power which the business organizations have in the society and the major social impact of that power. In this connection, a new element has been introduced that stated that the business organizations are social institutions and they should utilize their power in a responsible way. In addition to that, it has also been noted the reasons which generate the social power of these business organizations are not entirely internal of the organization; rather there are some external ones too. According to Blowfield and Murray (2014), the locus is mostly unstable and it is observed to shift constantly from the economic forum to the political one and also vice versa. This theory also attacks the hypothesis of the classic economic theory which prevents the involvement of the business organization within the society along with their wealth creation. This theory also formulates two fundamental principles which states the management of the social power, those are: ‘the iron law of responsibility’ and ‘social power equation’. The former one refers to the harmful consequences of the absence of the power usage, whereas the latter one refers to the social role and responsibilities of the business organizations which comes from the entire amount of power they have within the society. According to Bereskin, Campbell and Hsu (2016), the social equation of power and responsibility needs to be understood through the fundamental practical role of the business organization and it rejects the essential free market ideologies which state that the businesses have no responsibility within the society(Robertson & Upton, 2017). Later, scholars have extended this theoretical approach and proposed the ‘Integrative Social Contract Theory’ for taking the social and cultural contexts into account along with integrating the normative and empirical aspects of the business management.

Corporate Citizenship

This is comparatively a new idea among the scholars even though the concept of the business organization as a part of the society is not new. The scholars have states that there are few factors which have a certain impact of the relationship between society and business(Cheng, Lin & Wong, 2016). Amongst those factors, the globalization and crisis of state welfare are significant. Both these factors along with the reducing cost due to the technological advancements and deregulation procedure have stated that the larger conglomerates have greater social and economic power than the government organizations. According to Blowfield and Murray (2014), this theory has been introduced into the society and business relationship based on the social contract theory. It has also extended the concern for the closer community to the global one. To sum up, it can be said that this theory is mostly focused on the responsibilities, rights and the potential partnership of the society and business.

Several factors contribute to incorporate the social values and social demands in the business activities. One major question that stays at the heart of this issue is whether the unambiguous social missions are necessary for creating the social value and whether the businesses can equally and simultaneously pursue economic and social goals through this policy. According to Benn,Dunphy and Griffiths (2014), there are several large conglomerates all over the world that put stress on the private businesses playing important role in progressing with the social agendas. On the other hand, according toCalabrese et al. (2013), there are other literatures that indicate that even though the commercial organizations can have the transformative influence on the society, incorporating the social values along with the social demands is more commonly seen in the social organizations than the commercial ones. This implies that the businesses that are emphasising on the social values in place of their material gains are facing some degree of conflict of interest between the social and commercial dimensions of their business activities. According to Benn,Dunphy and Griffiths (2014), however, it is necessary for the large business organizations to craft their business model in a way that it reflects their values, morals along with addressing the environmental and social challenges. There may be several factors and motivations within the organization that contribute to incorporate the social values and demands in the business strategy, but bringing a definite structure and discipline to these fragments is necessary. Funding the community service enterprises or the non-profit organizations directly may indicate the environmental or social priorities of the businesses. There may be different priorities of every company on the basis of its core values. As stated by Calabrese et al. (2013), it may be challenging for the businesses to make these funding activities a part of its business strategy, but these can provide a degree of insulation from any kind of unanticipated risks along with enhancing the reputation of the organization. However, it should be noted that, in terms of larger conglomerates incorporating the social values and demands can be an extension of their business interest as well. According toCalabrese et al. (2013), the businesses can also increase their profitability and opportunities while creating environmental and social benefits and improving the functioning efficiency throughout the existing value chain. Most US corporations tend to identify the business value of innovation of the new technology solutions which may also reduce the existing operational costs and mitigate the social impacts(Robertson & Upton, 2017). However, the businesses should prioritize finding a definite solution of any kind of social issue as it may lead them to lesser financial return on the long run (Charity Navigator2016). The organizations need to make attempts for creating social values by addressing the significant social needs within its reach. However it may not give them immediate profits, but it can change the business model of any organization fundamentally and help developing new strategies and skills. 

The ethical theories can be defined as the well thought, self-consistent and rational theoretical background for a wide range of problems (Bereskin, Campbell & Hsu, 2016). There are mostly two fundamental theories that focus on the normative questions of the relationship between the society and business; those are: the ethics of rights and Utilitarianism.

Ethics of rights:

This is an umbrella term for a set of theories. In general, this theory proposes that the sense of morality tends to consist of much more than promoting the good. There may be several wrong actions that can promote the all over goodness, at the same time; there are several righteous acts that do not really promote the good. This theory indicates that the companies with the specific policies for the betterment of the society can flaunt the rights openly.According to Benn,Dunphy and Griffiths (2014),however, a policy incorporated with social demands and values and well-informed by the ethics of rights will focus on the moral dignity and the rights of all the stakeholders who are somehow affected by the operational activities of the business. This theory also emphasizes the respect for all the stakeholders in virtue of their stand as the right-bearers.


This theory indicates to the concept that the idea of morality is concerned with doing more good and stopping the bad as much as possible. If said specifically, this theory says that the moral agents should make the most of the well-beings of the society. There are few characteristics of this theory. Firstly, as it is concerned with the entire well-beings of all the moral agents or the stakeholders and maximizing it, the wellbeing of the entire society should be taken into account. According toCalabrese et al. (2013), Secondly, this theory is also recognized to a demanding moral theory as it does not approve the idea that sometimes the stakeholders may have the options of acting in different ways which may not increase the entire wellbeing. Thirdly, this theory also rejects the idea of including the constraints against the harmful activities such as discrimination or any forced labours. This states that the harmful activities are only wrong morally when they are not maximizing the entire wellbeing. Fourthly, the main focus on the consequences of the theory does not really distinguish between the harmful omissions and the harmful actions (Bereskin, Campbell & Hsu, 2016). Fifthly, this theory only focuses on the wellbeing and rarely focuses on the pragmatic implications such as bribery, child labour or discrimination. This theory is applicable on the CSR practices of the organization as this would not recommend that the organizations should stop concerning the negative human rights. The utilitarian approach would primarily imply that the companies should take all the interest of the society into account not only the closely related communities. According to Benn,Dunphy and Griffiths (2014), this will emphasize that everyone’s interest should be treated in an equal way which will eventually maximize the overall well-being. However, it should also be noted that while promoting the wellbeing, this theory mostly involves reforming the existing practices. The utilitarian approach may also demand that the organizations should focus more on the distant interests that they are doing currently.   


To conclude it can be said that the donations in charitable account by the conglomerates of United States have reduced by more than 13% in the last financial year(Robertson & Upton, 2017). The latest tax laws are considered to be responsible for this.  The reduction in charitable donations can be influenced by the tax proposals to the taxes imposed on estates. Nearly over 20 million US dollars under the Senate plan and not many individuals would have thought to give away parts of their estates to tackle a big bill of tax. Under the new tax laws the economists are predicting that if the conglomerates are unable to donate in each year, they will be able to donate in charitable funds once in a few years at least. It has also been predicted that the fiscal quarter from the month of July to the end of October various new accounts were increased by 50% and various grants and contributions can increase up to 30% (Bereskin, Campbell & Hsu, 2016). The CEO of national Philanthropic Trust that is one of the reputed donor advised funds have stated that there is a chance that in the coming financial year the situation will get improved and there will be a significant growth in the donations for charity by the conglomerates operating in United States 


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