Non-Profits Benefit from Entrepreneurship

November 16, 2010 ( – A new survey reveals that nine in 10 (89%) entrepreneurs donate money, both personally and through their companies, to support charitable causes, and 70% also donate their time.

The study found that companies led by entrepreneurs allocate more than twice the percentage of their profits to charity than many of America’s largest companies. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of the entrepreneurs surveyed say that their companies’ policies actively encourage their employees to volunteer their time and/or expertise to charitable causes, and more than half (53%) offer programs that encourage employees to support charitable causes financially.  

According to a press release, the survey additionally found most entrepreneurs (61%) currently sit on the board of a non-profit, and half (50%) currently chair a board or have chaired a board in the past. Just as they’ve started their own businesses, nearly half of entrepreneurs (43%) have formed their own charities.   

Six in 10 (62%) respondents said they feel giving back makes their companies more successful in the long run and one-quarter (26%) incorporated corporate philanthropy into their companies’ original business plans. Additionally, nearly 70% did not wait for “success” to give back, noting they started supporting charities while building their businesses.   

Business benefits aside, entrepreneurs said their number one reason for supporting corporate giving is the fact that it enables them, as leaders, to integrate their personal philosophies for giving into their corporate culture. More than half (55%) of entrepreneurs personally select the charities their companies will support, the press release said.   

On a more personal note, more than half (53%) of entrepreneurs report that charitable giving is now a key component of their overall personal financial plan. They also say their personal giving is driven by three key factors: gratitude for help received, empathy for those less fortunate, and the financial resources and freedom to make a difference.  

The survey was conducted for Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, a donor-advised fund program, and Ernst & Young among nearly 150 CEOs and founders.  

The full study report, Entrepreneurs & Philanthropy: Investing in the Future, is available at