April 2, 2024

Rocket's 5 Top Takeaways from CECP's Corporate Purpose 2023 Giving Report

The Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) has released its 2023 Giving in Numbers report, shedding light on the latest trends and developments in the world of corporate philanthropy and employee engagement. This report offers valuable insights into the strategies adopted by companies to create more inclusive work environments, the shifting priorities in charitable giving, and the impact of employee engagement initiatives. Below, we explore Rocket’s top 5 takeaways and implications of this report in the ever-evolving landscape of corporate social responsibility: 

1. Top Philanthropic Focuses: K-12 Education, Community Development, and Health & Social Services

K-12 Education is a top focus area for 28% of companies, followed by Community and Economic Development and Health and Social Services, both at 20%.  


Rocket’s Bottom Line: It's not unexpected that these issues are high on the priority list for most companies because they are focused but flexible and offer a broad spectrum of opportunities to show up throughout the year. However, broadness can lead to confusion and its key for companies to define the sub-issues (STEM education, the digital divide, school lunches, etc.) more clearly within these focus areas where they are making an impact. 


2. Environmental Programs on the Rise, Disaster Relief Declines 

One of the most significant shifts revealed in the report is the 51% increase in funding for environmental programs between 2020 and 2022. This is an encouraging sign, highlighting the growing corporate commitment to addressing environmental challenges. Furthermore, 79% of companies are actively engaged in employee-focused sustainability efforts. 

However, the report highlights that Disaster Relief has seen a 39% decrease in funding. It remains a common fourth focus area, however, given the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, this shrinking support raises questions about the causes behind it.  

  • Is it a strategic shift in priorities?  
  • The number of controversies surrounding which disaster relief efforts to support?  
  • The inherent difficulty to plan and prepare for these events in advance?  
  • Or simply a lack of focus on this critical area?  

The answer is likely a mixture of all the above and unique for each company but is nevertheless troubling when viewed in aggregate.  


Rocket’s Bottom Line: It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to have an environmental focus, and rightly so. However, we must also continue to address those currently being impacted by climate change on vulnerable communities, not just future prevention. 

3. Eyes on Employee Engagement

On average, the employee volunteer participation rate was 19.8% in 2022, up from 17% in 2021. Additionally, 19.4% of employees participated in their employer's matching-gift programs (flat from 2021), further showcasing the importance of these initiatives in fostering a culture of corporate giving. 


Rocket’s Bottom Line: Employee engagement remains a driving factor of corporate philanthropy. And to effectively harness this potential, it’s key for employers to offer a menu of opportunities for employees to participate. 

4. Fostering Inclusivity through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)  

95% of companies have implemented at least one ERG to promote a more inclusive work environment, underscoring the increasing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the corporate world. Additionally, 91% of companies offer learning and development programs focusing on DEI, racial justice, and societal issues.  


Rocket’s Bottom Line: Companies are not only prioritizing inclusivity but are also doubling down on educating their workforce on critical social and environmental issues. To make these efforts successful in reaching the employee audience, companies must thoughtfully consult and incorporate ERGs into their strategic impact work.

5. Culture and Arts, Civic and Public Affairs Fade From Focus 

Culture and Arts and Civic and Public Affairs are the least common program areas tied to top focus areas, with only 1% of companies choosing these as primary areas of focus. These results confirm a growing but still anecdotal reality that companies are staying far from politics, but culture and arts seem to be collateral damage as a result.  


Rocket’s Bottom Line: Just three years ago, many companies were heavily focused on civic engagement. However, due to public backlash and the growing complexity of the political landscape, this trend has waned. It’s time to re-focus. Given the upcoming Presidential election Rocket recommends companies begin to research and formulate civic engagement strategies for 2024, as this election is likely to command considerable public (and employee) attention.  

We'd love to chat! Drop us a line.
Drew Yukelson
Account Director



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Ph: (978) 790-6225
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