Corporate charitable giving 'to fall by £500m'

Social Investment Consultancy/YouGovStone research fuels recession fears

Fears of a serious decline in corporate giving during the recession are strengthened today by a poll that suggests it will fall by a third this year and a research report that confirms its recent decline.

The poll of 450 business leaders found that 60 per cent expected their companies to cut their charity giving and half expected them to cut down on the number of causes they supported.

Asked how much they expected giving to fall, the mean response was 34 per cent. The Social Investment Consultancy, which commissioned the poll, carried out online by YouGovStone, said this could mean a loss of £500m for charities.

This figure is based on an estimate that charities receive a total of £1.4bn from corporates in cash and in kind. Total income from the private sector accounted for 4.9 per cent of the sector's £33.2bn total in 2006/07, according to the 2009 NCVO Civil Society Almanac.

This prediction of a fall in corporate giving comes in the wake of recent research that found 37 per cent of charities were already seeing a decline in company donations, with some reporting reductions of as much as 50 per cent.

The latest poll coincides with publication by the Directory of Social Change of The Guide to UK Company Giving, which examines the support given to UK charities by 490 companies in 2007/08. It reports that companies gave cash donations worth 0.24 per cent of pre-tax profits in 2007/08, compared with 0.25 per cent in 2005/06.

It concludes that corporate social responsibility programmes have failed to deliver a noticeable change in company donations.
Community contributions, cash donations and in-kind support fell from 0.49 per cent of pre-tax profits in 2005/06 to 0.33 per cent in 2007/08.
John Smyth, senior researcher at the DSC, said these percentages had hardly changed in 10 years.

Catherine Sermon, natio­nal community impact director at Business in the Community, said: "If people judge good corporate social responsibility by the amount of money that businesses give to charities, they will always be disappointed.

"Success should be measured in the number of mutually beneficial partnerships formed to make an actual impact where it counts."

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