Private-Sector Workers Want Employers to Help the Poor

October 3, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Financial Services

Nearly three-quarters of American employees think their companies should help extremely poor people around the world if they have the resources, according to (pdf) a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Millennium Promise and More...

About half of workers cited social responsibility as the top reason their companies should help those living in extreme poverty, and another 29% said they believe that helping to strengthen an impoverished economy will also help the global economy. The most popular reason cited (by 52% of respondents) for helping was “because we have a responsibility to help those in need, wherever they may live.”


In terms of world regions requiring the most corporate aid, 60% of workers agreed that Africa is the continent most in need, while 30% said North America needed most help.

The most popular reason for not believing that their companies should contribute to extreme poverty relief was that they felt companies should place priority on problems in the US (cited by 52% of those who say they do not support helping the impoverished).


Despite their interest in poverty issues and their desire to help, only 23% of respondents knew that more than 1 billion people are currently living in “extreme poverty” (living on less than $1 a day).

The desire for their companies to help out is mirrored in employees’ personal giving. Nearly 75% of the 6,000+ American workers surveyed make personal contributions to charities. When asked what they considered to be the number-one issue affecting people globally today, 31% said hunger, 22% cited education, 15% cited HIV/Aids and other diseases and 14% said environmental sustainability.


More than a third of employees (35%) surveyed also said they were more inclined to work for a company that contributes to charities than to one that doesn’t, the survey found.

“American workers believe it’s important for their companies to contribute to solving global problems, especially in Africa,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, president and cofounder of Millennium Promise. “America’s companies have wonderful technologies, dedicated workers, and the extraordinary opportunity to make a major contribution to the end of poverty. Companies that get involved will help to build peace, prosperity, and yes, future markets.”

About the survey: The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Millennium Promise and among 6,823 US private sector employees, ages 18+, between February 15 and March 6, 2007. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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