BusinessWeek published a Special Report: Philanthropy 2010 last month.  I liked the article by Chris Farrell, titled “Philanthropy: Companies Seek Greater Returns in Tough Times.”  Check the full article out here.

“Amid soft economic times, companies’ gifts are increasingly freighted with self-interest—whether it’s image-polishing or engendering worker loyalty. The Great Recession exacted a harsh toll on the U.S. economy, from record home foreclosures to double-digit unemployment. Among the downturn’s many casualties was corporate philanthropy. The demand for help surged as the economy spiraled lower, but corporate giving decreased by 4.5%, or –8% in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Giving USA Foundation. (The latest data available are from 2008.)…

Companies are becoming even more focused on strategic giving…Another trend worth noting: An era of scarce resources is encouraging companies to embrace alternatives to cash to support their charitable activities. Corporate product and service donations, as well as employee volunteer efforts, are increasingly popular. So is forming partnerships with nonprofits and governments to pursue social goals. “They all have to collaborate more closely—government, nonprofits, and companies—to allocate resources more successfully.”