By Andrew Holt
UK business needs a new commitment to give more to communities and charities
Profile of corporate giving shows cash giving from UK companies falling with more opting for in-kind giving.
A new report summarising the state of affairs in UK corporate giving during a time of economic turbulence has been published online.
UK corporate citizenship in the 21st century, produced by Cass Business School and the Directory of Social Change, provides a detailed overview of the latest trends across the UK corporate giving sector.
Drawing on currently published data, the report is the first to build a comprehensive overview of how UK listed companies are supporting the communities in which they operate.
Overall, the report paints a bleak picture of corporate giving in the UK. It shows that:
Corporate giving remains low overall, making up 5% of total income to the UK voluntary sector
Corporate donations by the top givers to UK charities fell by 4.3% in real terms between 2007/08 and 2008/09
One trend which seems to have been accelerated by the ongoing recession is a shift away from cash donations to in kind giving
Reporting of corporate giving is still poor and no one universally accepted standard exists, making measuring and benchmarking difficult
It also reveals that:
Cash donations make up around 70% of the top companies’ community support portfolios to good causes and charities in the UK, with the rest being in kind
Donations to good causes and charities in the UK from the top 300 UK listed companies make up around 70% of their overall worldwide community investment portfolio with the remaining 30% going to causes around the world
Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are the top corporate givers; when the large product donations of these companies are taken out of the equation, however, the financial and mining sectors dominate.
Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, said: “Corporate social responsibility is fundamentally altering the way many companies do business. This report attempts to summarise the current state of corporate investment in the UK voluntary sector.
"It provides an overview and analysis of the most current data and trends for anyone interested in monitoring how UK-listed companies are supporting the communities in which they operate.
"While individual companies are involved in imaginative partnerships with voluntary organisations, or have increased their giving, overall the corporate sector could make a much more robust contribution to building stronger communities.”
Dr Catherine Walker, head of sector trends, evidence, analysis and metrics at the Directory of Social Change, said: “Falling levels of cash donations from UK companies is particularly disappointing when many charities are struggling with government cuts and rising demand for their services.
"It’s not enough to talk about corporate social responsibility. Charities and voluntary organisations need to see a new commitment from the UK business community to give more, and to match sentiments with hard numbers.
The report is available here.
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