Blog: How can businesses better help charities?

 

At a time when corporate giving has fallen – how can we help charities when they need corporate support more than ever before?

Hands up who would assume that in the past decade corporate giving by the FTSE 100 companies, i.e. the amount companies are donating to charities, has grown? 

Before reading the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) report on Corporate Giving, my hand would have been confidently in the air! 

At the same time, the cumulative profits of FTSE 100 companies have skyrocketed by 179%. 

However, despite businesses reporting a surge in community contributions during 2020/21 due to the pandemic, the numbers have regressed to 2016 levels. The report shows that:

  • Donations have declined by 17% in real terms.
  • The percentage of pre-tax profits allocated to charitable giving has decreased from 2.4% in 2016 to 0.8%.
  • The overall value of corporate giving has shrunk by 26% in the past 10 years.

 

Expectations on Businesses 

Businesses are operating in an environment where there are increasing expectations from both consumers and employees for them to act as responsible members of their communities. The Charities Aid Foundation’s report underscores this shift, revealing that 69% of the public believes businesses have an obligation to support the communities in which they operate.

These growing expectations come at a time when charities are facing a huge challenge. The funding environment is more competitive than ever before, inflation has pushed up many charity costs, and they are seeing an overwhelming surge in demand due to the continuing cost of living crisis. 

CAF’s Charity Resilience Index shows more than half of the charities surveyed are worried about their survival, two-fifths (41%) of charities say they cannot help anyone else and 12% are turning people away. Charities are on a knife-edge increasingly placed at risk of closure or having to make very difficult decisions about the support they can provide. We have already seen the impact of this with long-established charities like the Foundation of Social Improvement and Children England closing their doors recently.

 

What can corporates do to help charities?

The CAF Corporate Giving report provides some great recommendations for businesses to reverse this giving trend, including:

  • Making a commitment to donate at least 1% of pre-tax profits to charity,
  • Being transparent in reporting, 
  • Setting a top-down example. 

However, I believe that until companies see corporate partnerships as integral to their business model, giving amounts will continue to fluctuate.  A shift is needed to understand that ultimately, what is good for the community and society is also good for business and the bottom line.

Having worked with charities for many years to support corporate partnerships, I know first-hand that the benefits of corporate giving are not one-sided for the charity. Businesses benefit far beyond tax breaks; from profile building and supporting staff retention to helping them to build trusted relationships with customers and ultimately increasing their sales. 

Three Hands has spent the past 25 years encouraging businesses to look at the different ways they can build strategic partnerships with charities. We believe a greater impact can be made by assessing all of the ways the company can offer support to charities, from financial donations and support for key projects to skilled volunteering and co-creating new solutions to societal needs. Just some recent examples of our work include working with Centrica to build a high impact partnership with Carers UK and supporting Royal London to build a flagship social impact programme, which resulted in a partnership with national poverty charity Turn2US.  

Get in touch to see how we can support your company in this area, or read CAF’s full Corporate Giving report for more insights on corporate giving.

 

Conchita Anastasi, Senior Project Manager 

 

Four people in business attire are standing outside of an office holding a cardboard box that says donations

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