Companies are increasingly choosing in-kind giving over cash donations, according to a Cass Business School report.
UK Corporate Citizenship in the 21st Century, which was produced by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at the business school and the Directory of Social Change, gives an overview of the latest trends in the corporate giving sector.
The report, which gathers together existing data from a number of sources, says that corporate donations to UK charities are estimated to be worth about £1.6bn a year.
"There is some evidence to suggest that one way in which companies respond to a recession is to give more in-kind contributions and less cash," the report says. "The knock-on effect remains to be fully understood, but it could involve less flexibility to choose how to spend a cash donation."
It says that the result of this could be better and more effective partnership working between charities and companies.
Cathy Pharoah, professor of charity funding at Cass and a co-author of the report, said that although charities always preferred cash donations, better partnership working could be "instrumentally valuable" in the current environment.
But she said there was a lack of recent data available on corporate giving.
The report puts this partly down to the "plethora of non-cash contributions", which include employee time, expertise, facilities, mentoring, equipment and products, all of which are difficult to value accurately.