Debate: Is in-kind support from businesses a burden rather than a benefit?

A recent publication revealed a trend towards more in-kind giving from companies, rather than cash gifts

In-kind giving is being favoured over cash gifts
In-kind giving is being favoured over cash gifts

SAM SPARROW - head of the volunteer unit at Catch22

Sam Sparrow, head of volunteer unit, Catch22Employee volunteering and in-kind support is a massive opportunity for charities to increase corporate engagement and to bring in specialist skills.

Although this type of relationship is becoming more common, charities still have to deal with poorly timed opportunities from businesses that leave them scrabbling around at the last minute to find something that meets often unrealistic or overly specific requirements.

Charities can feel pressured to say 'yes' to everything, which can impose a burden on resources and doesn't always result in a worthwhile outcome for them or the beneficiaries.

JOHN WALKER - national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

John Walker, national chairman, Federation of Small BusinessesCharities might well feel that volunteering can be a drain on their resources, but for small firms it is important for them to give something back to their immediate communities.

For many businesses that have struggled to stay afloat in the recession, giving a cash gift just isn't possible, so they want to utilise the skills they have at their disposal for the benefit of other organisations.

This might not be as convenient to the third sector, but we would of course encourage charities to be open to this new kind of support.

LIAM KANE - chief executive of the East London Business Alliance

Liam Kane, chief executive, East London Business AllianceAs the chief executive of a charity that matches businesses with community groups in east London, I've seen first hand the impact of in-kind support. Of course, it isn't free, but it can save charities huge amounts of money.

In-kind support also has a longer shelf life. A donation might well keep a charity afloat for a couple of months, but putting a business volunteer into that charity to help sharpen up its business plan and financial forecasts will benefit the charity much more in the long term.

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