In the current economic climate in the UK, it is obvious that charities need greater support. It can be difficult for individuals and businesses to focus on their own needs and also support others, but there is a great deal to be said for those who back worthwhile causes. In an area like Paisley in Renfrewshire, there are many fantastic local causes requiring backing to support the local community. In this regard, it makes sense for local businesses to get involved with helping charities.
A report undertaken at the end of 2013 by the Directory of Social Change suggests that business support for charities in the UK comes in at around £700m to £800m a year. This accounts for 2% of charity income in the UK. Given that individuals contribute around 43% of charities’ income and statutory sources offer 37%, it is clear that businesses could do more. The level of business support was calculated at 0.4% of pre-tax profits, which is less than the recommended 1%.
Why do businesses support charities?
There are many reasons why businesses support charities. The PR benefits that a company can receive from supporting good causes and providing funding to a charity can create goodwill and generate sales in the long term. There is also the fact that the publicity surrounding charitable deeds can generate more awareness of the company than traditional advertising or promotional methods.
Local and national news outlets won’t provide coverage of a business for its everyday activities, but a company supporting a good cause or a local community is a news story in itself. Quite often, the money spent by a business supporting a local charity is more than compensated for by the increased exposure and media coverage that the business receives.
It is also important for businesses to be aware of their local market and the need to be seen as a community-based company. While the rise of the Internet and social media makes the world a smaller place for businesses, it also increases local awareness. Companies can positively impact upon their reputation and attractiveness to consumers by actively supporting the local community.
Another very strong reason to support a local charity is that your employees will feel a stronger bond with your business. Many companies allow their employees to pick a charity to support, or they may provide backing to a charity nominated by employees or one that is close to their families. This is a fantastic way for a company to engineer loyalty and respect from their employees without having to pay higher wages or improve working conditions.
Depending on the sums of money involved, the charities that are being supported and the nature of the company itself, there may be tax benefits to a company in supporting a charity. This is something that individual businesses should examine and there are often local bodies that will provide further insight into this aspect.
The key benefits that a company can receive from supporting a charity are:
- Potential tax breaks
- Employee perks and benefits
- Free promotion and publicity
- Creating awareness and picking up new followers
- Feeling energised or motivated from supporting a local business
The fact that there are so many benefits in supporting charities should ensure that businesses take steps to be more charitable.
Give funds or a portion of profits to charity
Charities always need financial support. Many companies run promotions stating that a certain percentage of their sales on a set day or period will be provided to a charity. This can drive traffic to your site or store and can increase sales, but it also supports a worthwhile cause.
It is important to realise that you don’t need huge sums of money to back a charity, every penny counts. An example of this is found in the work undertaken by Penny Appeal. In taking small change from a wide range of people and businesses, it actually raises enough funds to provide effective poverty relief support around the world.
Allow charity access to your premises to canvass support or raise funds
Sometimes, charities wish to get their message across in a more personalised manner. In this case, a company can help a charity by providing direct access to its audience and customers. Allowing charity workers to canvas or ask for support on your premises or website can generate significant awareness and backing.
Host an event in support of a charity
Many organisations host charity events, creating a fun evening that also provides funding and creates awareness of a local group or significant charity.
Volunteer at a local charity
On occasion, a local business can assist a charity more with its time than with its cash. If your workforce has skills that can benefit a charity, arranging time for employees to volunteer can be of significant benefit to a local charity group.