Corporate charity – the giving of large donations to non-profit organizations by corporate entities – is huge business. And 100% of it needs to go away. Here’s why.
First, corporations are somewhat like governments: they do not really have any money of their own. All corporate money is really consumer money (that is: my money and your money). We selected a product – maybe a computer or a chicken sandwich – and paid a handsome amount of our money in exchange for that product. Corporations often add a nickel or a quarter or a dollar or more to the price so that they could be charitable under their name with my money. Personally, I think this is the wrong way for me to give charitably. Honestly, I would rather save a few cents on my purchase and then decide where and when I want my money to be given. I am much more open to a company asking, “would you like to contribute a dollar to _____?” than for this contribution to be done blindly. So, in the future, rather than celebrate the fact that a corporation is charitably generous, I’ll be thinking that the corporation is choosing where to give my money, and I’ll try to shop elsewhere.
Secondly, corporations are inefficient ways to give charity. Almost always, the corporation creates a charitable foundation which then distributes funds to charities that meet their criteria. To do this, they hire well-paid staff, furnish posh office suites, buy expensive letterhead, do lots of “wining and dining,” and, in general, make the charitable gift far less valuable than if it came from individuals. Why should we celebrate the inefficiency of corporate charitable giving?
Third, corporations inevitably cause political unrest with their charity. We’ve seen this recently with the Chic-fil-a fiasco. What if Chic-fil-a had just sold chicken six days a week at a reasonable price (rather than the inflated price model they’ve been using) and not tried to be the giver-of-my-money? Had they done so, they would have avoided a world of bad-publicity. Years ago, I went to the branch manager of the bank I was then using because they had a sign in their lobby that said, “We celebrate pride in our community.” Knowing that June was homosexual pride month, I spoke to the manager and shared my feelings. In short, I told her, “If you had stuck to banking, you would continue to have my business. But because you’ve become an agenda-driven social-engineering corporation, I’ll take my banking to a bank that just does banking.”
The bottom line is that corporate charity is a bad bottom line. It is outside the avenue of the purpose of the corporation and of the purpose of my purchase. It is inefficient. It is ineffective as an advertising scheme. In the end, it is time for us to criticize rather than complement corporations that give large amounts to charity.