“In almost any gift-giving situation, there is some expectation of return, whether it is a tax deduction, a named building, or an enhanced reputation…

For a gift to be genuinely altruistic in nature, that is, for it to demonstrate other-centered love, it must have benefit to the recipient as its primary motive and purpose, but not necessarily its only motivation or purpose. Therefore, strategic or “smart” giving may be regarded as ethical.”– Excerpted from Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning. Christians, Clifford. 2001.

Especially at this time of year, corporate giving is scrutinized. As outlined in the above quote, it is possible to give in a way that benefits the recipient – and the donor. In giving, a company should strive to foster business, brand equity, and stakeholder relations. not simply publicity.

However, a company should also invest in its community because it is the right thing to do. The days of judging a company by what it “gives” philanthropically are gone. The public now looks at what a company fundamentally “does.” And when it comes to community support, people want businesses to provide more than charity – they want them to be active partners that leverage their corporate capabilities to address pressing needs. By doing so, everyone benefits.

Photo: National Geographic, Paul Nicklen