Giving by FTSE 100 companies fell by more than a quarter in the three years to 2016, according to a report published by the Charities Aid Foundation today.
The report, Corporate Giving by the FTSE 100, says that FTSE 100 companies gave donations totalling £1.9bn in 2016, a fall of 26 per cent (£655m) since 2013.
But researchers found that the overall combined percentage of pre-tax profits donated by FTSE 100 companies had increased because a handful of companies gave more.
The average median donation value has also risen to £5m. CAF’s report says this shows that the FTSE 100 relied on a handful of generous corporate donations, while large companies continued to donate at levels similar to those of previous years.
Pharmaceutical companies continued to dominate charitable giving, with basic materials and health care companies accounting for 55 per cent of donations in 2016, according to the report.
The vote to leave the EU has not led to major shifts in the giving behaviour of major companies, the report says.
Changes in legislation mean that companies no longer have to report their corporate donations. CAF says it found that a total of 15 FTSE 100 companies chose not to specify their corporate donations for the 2015/16 financial year and any donations they made are therefore not included in the report.
In addition to reviewing charitable giving, CAF commissioned a survey of 1,004 adults. Almost half those surveyed (48 per cent) agreed that "businesses have an obligation to support charitable causes".
The survey also found that more than half (56 per cent) agreed that they would be more inclined to buy a product or services from a business that donated to charitable causes.
Klara Kozlov, head of corporate clients at CAF, said: "Company giving is critical. Unfortunately, the downward trajectory for corporate giving continues, with fewer companies replenishing a depleted pool of money donated to charitable causes.
"This is certainly a concern for charities. It is vital that civil society can work with businesses to show how partnership between charities and business can benefit both, as well as greatly enriching society.
"We believe company giving, both financial and non-financial, is vital. It helps to deliver positive impact and enables the convergence of interests between business and society and, by doing so, fosters integrity and bolsters trust."