Local businesses make a limited but important contribution to supporting voluntary and community organisations, according to new research by Sheffield Hallam University.
The study by the university’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research says that local business donations and sponsorship account for only 2 per cent of non-public sector funds received by charities in Greater Manchester.
But there is a core of organisations for which this relationship is important.
The report, Local Business Giving: Between the Raffle Prize and a New Source of Funding, says voluntary sector organisations can benefit from nurturing and developing relationships with local businesses and offers lessons for doing so, including investigating "mutual benefit".
It says charities should understand that giving is more than about supplying, says, money or a raffle prize, with the giving of time, expertise, resources and space also important.
The research is based on new analysis of a ‘state of the sector’ survey of Greater Manchester, carried out in 2012/13 by the CRESR, and the study of the work by three members of the local infrastructure body Navca, supported by the Transforming Local Infrastructure fund. It suggests geography matters, with wealthy areas tending to have a larger base of small businesses.
Navca said the report was notable because little research on local business support for the voluntary sector had been published, even though considerable work had been done on the role of large businesses in helping charities.
Professor Peter Wells, co-author of the report, said: "We found big differences in the levels of support voluntary sector organisations get from business. Further research to understand what creates these differences could increase overall giving, unlocking much-needed resources for local voluntary action."
Joe Irvin, chief executive of Navca, which funded the research along with Sheffield Hallam University’s Knowledge Exchange Programme, said: "A lot is said of the importance of local giving, it is great to get research that allows us to understand how Navca and our members can support local giving.
"Navca members play a vital role in developing the relationships with local businesses that the research identifies as key. I am pleased that the research found ‘infrastructure organisations were responding to a challenging policy environment in innovative ways’. In a tough environment, local charities need this modern energetic infrastructure."