Market and Institutional Factors in Corporate Contributions

by Michael Useem



Corporate gifts to nonprofit organizations are determined by both market and institutional factors. Among the leading market factors are a firm's pre-tax earnings, advertising and customer relations, and community and national reputation. Among the main institutional factors are a company's size, program professionalization, senior management commitment, local and national business attitudes toward giving, sectoral concentration, and company reorganization. The blend of factors in corporate giving suggests that appeals-whether from an outside group to a company or from a contributions manager to a chief executive-must be responsive to both market and institutional concerns.

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