2018 Giving in Numbers Survey Launches

Data-driven insights inform social engagement programs of the world’s leading companies
Feb 7, 2018 8:30 AM ET

NEW YORK, February 7, 2018 /3BL Media/ - CECP, in association with The Conference Board, is celebrating the launch of the 17th annual Giving in Numbers Survey. In the largest, most robust, industry-leading and internationally recognized research of corporate social engagement of its kind, the survey is open through March 30, 2018, to companies with revenues of US $2 billion or more, including companies not yet affiliated with CECP or The Conference Board. CECP: The CEO Force for Good is a coalition of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $6.4 trillion in revenues, $18.4 billion in social investment, and 13.6 million employees.

“As much-needed sources of community stability, corporations rely on data-driven societal engagement strategies to assess how they can effectively harness their resources to solve the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “The Giving in Numbers Survey offers corporate leaders the tools to evaluate the scope and scale of their community investments and helps advance the field of strategic corporate citizenship.”

“In the past year, the corporate sector’s response to a range of social issues has become a critical part of restoring trust and confidence in the business sector,” said Jonathan Spector, CEO, The Conference Board. “The corporate citizenship and philanthropy industry relies on robust measurement and analysis to advance the practice and to ensure the largest companies are leading the way in terms of responsible business. There is no better tool than the Giving in Numbers survey.”

Each year, the Giving in Numbers survey offers CECP an unequaled opportunity to thoughtfully review the funds, resources, and skills that companies invest globally to address and meet community needs. Last year, 258 companies, including 67 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, submitted data on their corporate giving and employee engagement programs, including cash and non-cash contributions, cause areas of allocation, and employee and stakeholder engagement. In 2018, CECP will be monitoring trends related to non-cash social investments as an indicator of deeper integration of social value generation into business strategy, as well as tracking any changes in the proportion of matching employee giving within corporate social investments overall, noting that leading companies have continued to transform their approach to human capital.

The survey results, analyzed by CECP’s Data Insights team, is used to develop the seminal yearly report Giving in Numbers, published by CECP, in association with The Conference Board. Data also inform a range of infographics, blog posts, media articles, and CECP’s annual trends, an abbreviated version of which is included below:


Despite an uncertain sociopolitical environment, companies remain committed to its key stakeholders. In fact, data from Giving in Numbers: 2017 Edition show many companies increased social investments as median total giving increased in 2016. While many CEOs acted as advocates, we also saw corporate-wide support for causes—see two recent Economist articles, here and here, for comprehensive recaps. CECP speaks to companies every day to support the variety of new questions that arise out of the unique scenarios—from hurricanes to DACA, to race, and more. In 2018 and beyond, we expect companies to apply their innovations, skills, and resources to address our most pressing challenges ranging from sexual harassment to tax reform. Companies, through their scope and scale, will lead on these issues by drawing on their strong cultures and policies to continue to protect their employees and other vital stakeholders.


Companies that have tapped into purpose as a motivator for their workforce are seeing the rewards: 58% of companies with a clearly articulated and widely understood purpose see financial growth of more than 10%. Purpose-led companies and cultures can no longer be considered a fad. Instead, they should be considered the future. We expect additional proof-points, through our joint research and others, to emerge that will demonstrate that companies must continue to embed purpose into the company--or else be left behind.


A social focus inside companies has moved in multiple dimensions. It’s moved vertically from the C-Suite to the front lines. Importantly, it has also shifted horizontally: from HR to IR to Marketing, and more. CECP noticed these moves in our research that uncovered four business motivations for investing in society. Corporate social investments will continue to be led by CEOs but at the same time will become more deeply rooted in the core of a business. Over time, this multi-dimensional integration of stakeholder interests and purpose will become increasingly intractable from corporate culture.


Equitable workplaces foster a culture of trust and acceptance and are engines of prosperity. As the Wall Street Journal aptly noted, the business case for equity in the workplace is solid. But the gains we have seen will likely be challenged by additional forces in society. The latest 10-year forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that inequality—by income, education, and geography—will continue to grow. Leading companies are already adapting and thinking ahead to remedy this.


While Wall Street and its day traders remain dominant, leading companies and investors are rubbing their eyes and allowing material long-term and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues to come into focus. CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative aims to shift trillions of dollars in investment capital to companies that communicate long-term plans that:

  1. Share the Vision: 3-5+ years, publicly and regularly
  2. Feature financial and material environmental, social, and governance risks
  3. Incorporate significant stakeholders
  4. Describe approaches to governance and metrics

We expect this level of forward-thinking disclosure to become increasingly commonplace as a competitive advantage in gaining investor attention and dollars.


While mass customization is not a new idea, the set of acknowledged stakeholders of a corporation is growing and corporate social investments are being increasingly built around the recognition that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Companies are addressing this by offering more customizable engagement opportunities for employees to meet segments of interest and need. The number of types of volunteer programs, paid-release time and flexible schedules, and matching gift programs all increased— allowing employees to customize their engagement based on their passions (Giving in Numbers: 2017 Edition).

Each company and each country have a different culture, set of stakeholders, and business imperatives. Tying all this work together is the Global Exchange which seeks to unite country-based, mission-driven corporate social engagement organizations to advance the corporate sector as a force for good around the world. We anticipate companies continuing the trend of adapting their approaches based on these unique needs.


With the passing of the new tax bill and a major reduction on corporate taxes, regardless of one’s views, citizens will look for companies to step up to lever these new funds for long-term good, not just for short-term payouts. This will serve as a real-world litmus test on corporate leadership. Will this be a one-time windfall, or will companies invest this estimated $1 trillion in savings in their employees, their communities, and their future? Already, we are hearing that leading companies--such as AT&T, Comcast, Boeing, and Wells Fargo--will invest in employees, communities, capital, equipment, and R&D. This will be a key topic at the 13th annual CEO Board of Boards on February 26th in New York, when more than 50 CEOs meet to discuss "Corporate Leadership, Social Progress." Michael Bloomberg, CEO, Bloomberg, LP will keynote the lunch, along with Bill McNabb, Chairman & CEO, Vanguard.

Click here to read CECP’s complete 2017 Trends Report.

Since 2001, the Giving in Numbers Survey has collected data on corporate social strategy programs globally to provide professionals with the benchmarking and reporting tools necessary for making data-driven decisions about their company’s social strategy. Results of the survey will be available at the CECP Summit, May 22-23, 2018.

Note to Editors: CECP can coordinate interviews with Daryl Brewster, CEO, and Carmen Perez, Director, Data Insights, who are available for comment on the Giving in Numbers survey and trends. Please contact Jackie Albano, jalbano@cecp.co to arrange interviews.    

# # #

About CECP: The CEO Force for Good
CECP is a CEO-led coalition that believes that a company’s social strategy — how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers —determines company success.  Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders to create a better world through business, CECP has grown to a movement of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $7 trillion in revenues, $18.6 billion in societal investment, 13 million employees, and $15 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their social strategy by providing customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition. http://cecp.co

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org