I have mixed feelings about corporate philanthropy. I think it’s important to support causes you believe in, but when organizations go to companies asking for support it seems there’s only one person making the decision on behalf of everybody who works there. I think that’s problematic, especially for a publicly traded company, because it results in one person making a decision for every employee and choosing which organizations are more deserving than others.
That’s why I like the idea of company match programs.1 In these programs corporations don’t donate to causes until employees do, which makes corporate donations a more accurate reflection of what its employees care about and ends up supporting a much wider range of deserving organizations. It also encourages individuals to get involved in these non-profits, not to just rely on a suit from higher up to make some decision to donate to a cause they may or may not agree with.
Apple started this kind of program in September, although some claims exist that donations so far are used to promote the program and haven’t been distributed to those non-profits. ↩