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Corporate Giving: A Literature Review

Brandon Vaidyanathan

In recent years, a significant amount of literature has emerged on the topic of Corporate Giving, which is embedded in the broader discussion about Corporate Social Responsibility. Studies show that while managers appear to have increasingly come to see the need to integrate or fit corporate philanthropic activity with the company’s core mission and strategy, the actual practice of such “strategic philanthropy” seems to be weak. Employee Volunteer Programs also seem to be growing in importance, but empirical research on these is scant. Some reliable evidence exists for a positive relationship between philanthropic activity and firm reputation as well as financial performance. However, there are important methodological problems with most studies, such as small, non-representative samples of firms and low response rates, which limit what we are able to say about American corporations in general. The lack of consensus in the literature on how to measure various aspects of the phenomenon is another obstacle to overcome. Yet, for these very reasons, the potential for future exploration is rich, and based on the literature reviewed, important avenues for further research will be recommended.

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