Harvard Business Review | December 2002
Too many companies practice ineffective philanthropy through programs that are more focused on public relations than impact. Written in 2002, this article advocates for a shift to truly strategic corporate philanthropy, which improves the company’s competitive context and the community where it operates.
- Corporations can and should use their charitable efforts to improve their competitive context—the quality of the business environment in the location or locations where they operate.
- For truly strategic philanthropy, corporations need to rethink both where they focus their philanthropy and how they go about their giving.
- Corporations can shift toward strategic philanthropy through 5 steps: Examine the competitive context in each of the company’s important geographic locations; review the existing philanthropic portfolio to see how it fits this new paradigm; assess existing and potential corporate giving initiatives against the 4 forms of value creation; seek opportunities for collective action within a cluster and with other partners; and rigorously track and evaluate results.