By Débora Montesinos
Beyond self-interest, there’s social responsibility
Private-sector participation in philanthropy has changed substantially in Mexico. Several years ago, many companies started supporting altruistic activities, thanks to the financial benefits they can obtain.
Today it’s common to hear about social responsibility and how philanthropy is key for civil society to grow, democratize, and become a strategic instrument of social change.
The change has already been documented, and the numbers show the evolving attitude of businesses toward philanthropy:
-Businesses have a good track record in philanthropy: 54% got involved more than 10 years ago, and 19% between five and nine years ago.
-They believe social problems exceed the government’s capacity to resolve them, and that collaboration from other sectors is needed. (But they don’t seek to replace the government—instead, to collaborate with it and other actors to contribute to social development.)
-Their main reasons for undertaking philanthropic activities are their commitment and responsibility to society (39%), desire to contribute to a good relationship between the business and its community (26%), and their interest in improving their reputation and image (15%).
-The study also noted that a significant portion of businesses (22%) reported that they didn’t seek any business objective through their philanthropic activities.
-The main benefits they get are recognition and loyalty from the community, and pride and improved social conscience from their employees.
-The social investments most mentioned were education (73%), environment (58%), community development (58%), and children (58%).
-The least mentioned were HIV/AIDS (9%), microcredit/productive projects (13%), human rights (16%), and science and technology (17%).
-The parts of the business in charge of philanthropy are the Board or President (28%), and in second place the foundation, Corporate Social Responsibility, or Donors’ Committee (22%). Other areas mentioned were Human Resources (18%) and Public Relations/Communication (14%).