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199. SCAA survey: How the industry gives

More than a year ago, I received an invitation from the SCAA (along with 4,013 others, it seems) to respond to its “Philanthropic Activity Survey.”  Today, I finally got to see the results, which suggest that the industry and the beneficiaries of its philanthropy may benefit from a more deliberate form of reinvestment in the coffeelands.

If the survey responses are representative, then it seems about half the industry (48%) budgets for philanthropic activity each year, most gifts (51%) are relatively small (< $1,000), decisions about giving are made overwhelmingly (68%) by the top dog at each company, and there is considerable room for improving industry philanthropy in terms of reinvestment strategy, impact assessment and communications.

WHO responded?

  •  134 SCAA members
  • 92 percent of all respondents were from privately held companies

HOW MANY give?

  •  The SCAA’s analysis suggested that “the majority” of the sample makes “some type of charitable investment annually,” but the data showed that slightly less than half of all respondents (48%) budget annually for philanthropic activities.

HOW MUCH do they give?

  • More than half of all respondents (51%) reported average gift amounts less than $1,000 for any single project or organization; eight percent said they regularly make gifts of $10,000 or more.

HOW do they give?

  • Not very strategically.  According to the report, “Most companies lack a structured approach to giving and decisions are made somewhat on an ad hoc basis,” and overwhelmingly by the owner or CEO (68%).

TO WHOM do they give?

  • While the international organizations Coffee Kids (78%) and Grounds for Health (68%) received the highest percentages of favorable ratings, a majority of respondents (58%) expressed a preference for giving to local organizations.  In all cases, SCAA noted that there is an unmet demand for more information about the impacts of those investments.

WHY do they give?

  • More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) suggested that charitable giving is a natural reflection of their corporate culture and values, while 60% said it makes “good business sense” to fund projects in the coffeelands.  There wasn’t a lot of specificity, however, on just how coffee philanthropy supports companies’ core business models.  The only specific returns on industry support for “coffee charities” cited by respondents were: meeting customer/staff expectations, builing brand visibility and supporting good causes.

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