August 22, 2014

Corporate Giving

Branding Via Philanthropy

Companies tend to couple donations with marketing.

Carol Taylor West | 12/1/2007

Melitta USA gave out 2,000 cups of its signature coffee at a recent Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. [Photo: Melitta USA]

These days, giving for giving’s sake is taking a back seat as companies, law firms and banks build marketing or branding into their gifts of both money and volunteer efforts. “The philanthropy dollars have turned into marketing dollars,” says Ruth Shack, president of the Dade Community Foundation and chairwoman of the Florida Philanthropic Network. “Corporations want a person on the board; they want a banner hung.”

Wendy Spencer, CEO of Volunteer Florida, cites examples of bank employees volunteering in a low-income community, teaching residents money management skills likely to make them future bank customers. Or, when company employees volunteer together, they wear their company apparel and brush up on team-building skills while they’re at it.

Part of the trend involves maximizing a company’s philanthropic reach by offering goods along with money. Melitta USA, for example, puts some of its charitable effort into presenting the annual Glitz and Sticks fund raiser that, in connection with the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation, benefits the Tampa General Hospital Foundation. The Clearwater company also is a financial supporter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Florida Inspirata Gala in January. But much of Melitta’s charitable contributions come in the form of in-kind donations of its signature coffee. The company’s sampling van, for example, gave out 2,000 cups of coffee at a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this fall. “We’re not the biggest company, so we can’t just give financially,” says Donna Gray, public relations director for Melitta.

Tags: North Central

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

How to Do Florida: Crabbing on Tampa Bay
How to Do Florida: Crabbing on Tampa Bay

How to Do Florida host Chad Crawford joins Tampa Bay legend Gus Muench, of Gus' Crabby Adventures based in Ruskin, for a day's work hauling traps and then a rewarding crab dinner.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

After meeting with climate scientists, what should Gov. Scott's next move be?

  • Take action: He should adopt recommendations and move quickly to avoid greater disaster and economic problems.
  • Remain neutral but at least make a statement addressing concerns.
  • Take no action. Gov. Scott has more important, more immediate matters to attend to.

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe