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Corporate giving

As interest in corporate responsibility and responsible business practices has grown, there has been a shift away from the traditional notion of corporate philanthropy.  Corporate giving to the VCS represents just 5% of VCS income and the current economic slowdown is likely to have reduced the level of corporate giving. Instead of one-off donations, companies are seeking longer-term, rolling programmes of partnership with charities. Companies are looking for more hands-on roles with contributions in kind becoming more common - sharing skills, staff time or marketing reach with partner charities. The government is pushing for an increase in corporate giving to some sectors (eg arts and culture and universities) in order to replace reduced public spending.

What are the implications?

  • Rather than corporate giving some of the most successful corporate partnerships involve raising money from customers and staff.
  • Longer term partnerships with charities favour big household name charities which provide brand benefits to the corporate partner.
  • Applying for schemes like ‘charity of the year’ requires a lot of time and effort, again favouring larger charities.
  • Corporate giving can provide core and unrestricted funding, therefore a fall may remove a stable funding option for many organisations.
  • In kind gifts can be a opportunity for many organisations, where the gifts are truly needed by beneficiaries.
  • Employee volunteering as a form of in-kind gift may allow organisations to benefit from new skills and expertise.
  • As economic hardship increases in a slowdown, some corporates may be encouraged to increase in-kind giving.

Moving forward

In light of the changing priorities of corporates, could income from these organisations play a part in your fundraising strategy?

As corporates reduce the numbers of small grants they give, building a good relationship with key decision makers will be increasingly important. How will your organisation identify who and how to develop this relationship?

Could you organisation make use of in-kind gifts? If so, how can you identify potential sources and go about persuading corporates to donate? Can you learn from other organisations that have been successful in doing this?

Want to know more?

Philanthropy UK Newsletter

Published by: Philanthropy UK 

Date: Quarterly

Format: Web and PDF

What is it? A free quarterly newsletter examining UK philanthropy from a number of different perspectives. 

How useful is this? This newsletter is made up from contributions from a wide range of people within the UK philanthropy sector.  Many articles contain at least brief references to corporate giving, most notably in the December 2008 issue (“Outlook 2009: philanthropy in a downturn”) discussing the future outlook to funding for organisations during the economic downturn.

Other comments: As well as being fully navigable online each newsletter can be downloaded as a PDF document.

Attitudes towards Corporate Philanthropy and service during a Recession 

Published by: Taproot Foundation, a US foundation encouraging giving in kind

Date: 2009

Format: PDF

What is it? The results of a survey conducted by the Taproot Foundation looking at the attitudes of Business Professionals towards Corporate Giving and service during a recession.

How useful is this? This survey looked at the views of 450 business professionals within the US representing a wide spectrum of professions and employment statuses. Answers present varying views on corporate leadership in allocating philanthropic giving, volunteering activities vs direct giving/funding, volunteer activities during periods of workforce reduction, as well as focus points and priorities for giving both on a personal and corporate scale.  These results will be of particular use to anyone attempting to assess how corporations will adapt philanthropy based on employee/customer opinion in order to repair the damage between business and society and restore public trust.

Global Leaders: Confronting a Crucial Decision 

Published by: CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, a US charity) 

Date: 2009

Format: PDF (275KB)

What is it? An executive report by the CECP summarising the results and highlights of the 2009 annual “Board of Boards” CEO conference. 

How useful is this? A fascinating look at how a selection of CEOs from large and powerful corporations are approaching future corporate philanthropy in the wake of the financial crisis. Highlights include opinion on how to embrace and refocus corporate giving, areas of most importance, and influential groups of people considered when crafting strategic changes within their companies.

Other comments: A detailed summarisation of the CEO conference and examination of the topics and future trends discussed was published by onPhilanthropy – a leading website in the philanthropic sector. It can be viewed here.

Corporate Giving - two case studies

Published by: BITC - (Business in the Community), a UK charity.

Date: 2010

Format: Web

What is it? A brief case study outlining how two firms responded to the Haiti Appeal. 

How useful is this? Although short, these case studies outline two different forms of corporate giving - BSkyB using their "Red Button" service to allow subscribers to donate to the appeal, and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline donating medicines as a gift-in-kind. These are typical of corporate partnerships and highlight the benefits of a non-cash ask.

Last updated at 11:11 Tue 08/Feb/11.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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