Tech companies give it up for charity

Social and charitable endeavors wind up helping tech companies, which benefit from happier, more engaged employees.

tech people doing charitable activities

Corporate giving is on the rise, and the tech industry is keeping pace. One big reason? It’s what the people want.

“More and more we’re realizing that people, stakeholders, new employees – they all care about the fact that the companies they work for have a purpose beyond making a profit,” says Kathy Mulvany, vice president of corporate affairs at Cisco.

Once reticent to boast about its social and charitable endeavors, Cisco is now more open about the work it’s doing. It’s especially of interest to the millennial generation, says Mulvany, whose responsibilities include helping to steward Cisco’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

“To attract this new generation of talent, we need to show them that it isn’t just about making a big profit. It is about what we can do to help address the challenges the world faces, by bringing our core competencies as an IT company to bear on these challenges.”

U.S. corporations contributed an estimated $17.8 billion in charitable giving last year, an increase of 14% compared to the prior year, according to data from Giving USA. As a percentage of revenue, total giving averages 0.11% across the largest U.S. companies and is marginally higher (0.15%) among big companies in the tech industry, according to figures from the nonprofit group CECP.

Companies seem to be taking their cues from individuals: Americans gave $358 billion to charity in 2014, Giving USA estimates. Last year’s tally was up 7% compared to the prior year and marked the fifth year in a row that Americans increased their donations.

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