Filed under: Apple, Corporate Citizenship, Nike Foundation, Philanthropy, Vodafone | Tags: Apple, charity, Cisco, corporate, Corporate Citizenship, foundation, Girl Effect, LloydsTSB, Nike, Nike Foundation, Philanthropy, tesco, virgin, Virgin Unite, Vodafone
It’s not often one of the world’s biggest companies tells you they’re setting up a foundation, and asks for thoughts on strategy and positioning. I thought I’d share some of the questions we’ll need to think through, in case anyone has any ideas or experiences to throw in…
1. PURPOSE: How is the foundation linked to corporate strategy? Some foundations are set up to allow independence from corporate priorities – e.g., the LloydsTSB Foundation, which is a giving vehicle to range of charities. Others are set up to deliver complement commercial objectives – e.g., the Walmart Foundation, which directly tackles nutrition in low income groups.
2. CORE COMPETENCE: What does the foundation actually do? Most of foundations exist purely to give money, but some also draw upon the expertise of parent company. The Vodafone Foundations are a great example of this, using mobile telecoms for health, education and disaster relief. Similarly, the Cisco Foundation works to use Internet technologies for social inclusion.
3. PEOPLE: Is the foundation run by corporate management? Sometimes the foundation’s trustees will be drawn from the corporation’s senior management, other times they are completely independent. Some corporates will facilitate volunteering and/or secondments to the foundation, and an opportunity to galvanise staff fundraising. Sometimes corporates view the foundation as a positive tool for talent development – giving their rising stars a broader set of management challenges, and some valuable perspectives on the world.
4. MONEY: How does the foundation get funded? A clear endowment formula proves commitement – e.g., the Lloyds TSB Foundations gets 1% pre-tax profits (averaged over 3 years). Some foundations are set up during an IPO or M&A, and are given a chunk of equity – such as Google.org, which has 1% of Google stock. The foundation I’m closest to, the Nike Foundation, was set up with an initial $20 million, and this is topped up each year from Nike’s commitment to give 3% of pre-tax profits.
5. BRAND: What is the foundation’s public positioning? Many corporate foundations share a brand identity, but aren’t promoted directly as a brand asset. Nike Foundation is a great example of this, having created the Girl Effect campaign as the public face of the foundation. Other foundations align themselves with consumer interest: the Tesco Charity Trust, for example, is said to undertake consumer research to help decide their areas of focus. Virgin Unite is building on the Virgin brand’s reputation for entrepreneurship.
Corporate foundations are among the biggest donors of all foundations: 11 of the top 20 US-based foundations are corporate. (foundationcentre.org). All corporates are under increasing pressure justify charitable giving to shareholders, so foundations are becoming increasingly strategic about the way they give: aligning the focus of the foundation with commercial objectives, building upon core business competencies.
And for the record, the client I’m working with isn’t Apple – I just liked the cartoon (by Rob Cottingham) because their own philanthropy ambitions are either secret or absent. According to an answer on Quora, Steve Jobs eliminated all corporate philanthropy programs when he returned in 1997. It would be fun to think what you’d do with the Apple Foundation…
Filed under: Apple, Banks, Coca-Cola, Google, Pharma, Vodafone | Tags: Apple, Banks, Coca-Cola, disaster relief, Google, Pharma, Vodafone
Are they genuine good neighbours, or just jumping on the help-Haiti bandwagon? Who cares if the result is positive. Big brands are queueing up to help – here are some of the ways they’re doing it.
In response to requests from relief agencies, Google has released a new layer on Google Earth showing pre/post earthquake satellite images. Google has also set up a person-finder service and donated $1 million to relief agencies.
Coke can bottle water on a mass scale – a real lifeline. After the 2004 Tsunami, Coke’s bottlers and distributors provided safe drinking water to many of the effected areas. In 2007, Coke provided 1.5 million liters of bottled water to victims of the floods in Mexico. Coke says it’s bottling plant in the Dominican Republic is providing water to Haiti, and the company has also donated $1 million to relief efforts.
T-Mobile has received a lot of coverage for it’s announcement on Thursday of free calls to Haiti for customers trying to connect with ” loved ones in Haiti during the aftermath”.
The games developer behind MafiaWars and FarmVille, Zynga has over 40 million daily users. By integrating donation into the gameplay, Zynga has so far raised over $1.2 million to the UN Food Programme- and this is expected to be a lot higher.
Big-pharma companies stand accused of exploiting the developing world through drugs-trial programmes and the high price of patented AIDS medication. Against this background, AstraZeneca is providing supplies of antibiotics and respiratory medication to the relief effort.
Vodafone has long-standing partnerships with Oxfam and Telecom Sans Frontiers, providing emergency telecommunications for disaster relief – and teams of telecoms engineers are currently in Haiti.
…AND THE BANKS?
The big banks are definitely still in the dog house. You might think they’d want to show their caring side by joining the help-Haiti brigade – but no, aside from a smattering of donations that don’t add up to a mid-level bonus: JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs each donated $1 million. Indeed, Huffington Post estimates that US banks and credit card companies have been actually making money out of disasters, earning around £250 million a year on charitable donations. The article prompted Visa, Mastercard and Amex to waive fees for the Haiti appeal.
A list of other random corporate contributions is in this Reuters “fact box“.