The last of the big spenders?

December 01, 1993


Corporate giving has fallen again in real terms, according to new figures from the Charities Aid Foundation published in the latest edition of Charity Trends and released at its Annual Conference on November 4. A tracking sample of 58 large companies monitored over five years shows donations constant in cash terms, representing a fall in value after inflation. The five year trend reveals real strong growth in 1989/90 and 1990/91, with falls in 1991/92 and 1992/93. Among other key findings:

BT retains its position as the biggest donor, reporting support worth £14.6 million in the year to March 1993

in second place is BP on £11 million, followed by National Westminster Bank on £10.2 million

nine companies provided support of more than £5 million each, compared with 13 in last year’s survey.

The corporate donors survey was undertaken with support from Sedgwick Group and combined the information needs of both CAF and the Directory of Social Change in an effort to reduce the burdens on companies.

Charity Trends also shows that the voluntary income of the top 400 charities rose by 3% in real terms, a figure boosted by 4% increase in legacy income and a gain of 16% in charity shop turnover. However, the income gap between the bigger charities and the rest is widening: while the total income of the top 200 grew by 4% in real terms, that of the next 200 fell by 9%, raising the question of how the thousands of smaller charities below them fared. Charity Trends 1993; published by CAF (0732 771333) 152pp, price £20, ISBN 0 904757 96 X


The Charities Aid Foundation’s Annual Conference heard Executive Director, Michael Brophy, describe the “resource crisis” threatening the voluntary sector and he pledged that between now and the millenium CAF would be devoting itself to finding new resources. New methods of facilitating charitable giving were announced:

a loans scheme through CAF’s newly established Technical Assistance Unit to broker loans required by the voluntary sector, for example secured on stable contracts, from banks willing to make them; eventually a Charity Loan Unit, possibly with equity from the National Lottery as well as the private sector, will provide loan finance directly;

a further expansion of Give as You Earn by enlisting the support of the trade union movement;

a new Charity Card to reduce delays in the current voucher system for individuals.

Also announced at the conference was a study by think-tank DEMOS of the feasibility of new ways to match public funding with private donations. Contact David Wickert, CAF, on 0732 771333


Companies and other charitable grant-makers must continue to fund core costs of frontline charities and maintain their help for the management, training and advice services of network support groups, according to a report published on November 4. Resourcing the Voluntary Sector: The Funders’ Perspective was compiled by Association of Charitable Foundations, Charities Aid Foundation and the Corporate Responsibility Group following a series of seminars held early in 1993 with five government departments – the first time the main funders of the voluntary sector had come together to discuss funding issues. Among the reports key findings are:

the general public is the largest funder of the voluntary sector, followed by the government. Trusts and companies are the third largest funders of the voluntary sector, each contributing between 5% and 10%

smaller community-based groups, which are best placed to work with disadvantaged or minority groups, are often squeezed by the contract culture

in areas where there is a lack of organisational skills and no strong corporate presence it is harder to maintain a successful voluntary sector

The report makes 28 detailed recommendations and asks the government and other funders to consider a code of practice for funding the voluntary sector, a suggestion taken up by the Home Secretary, Michael Howard MP, at the CAF AGM on November 4. Resourcing the Voluntary Sector: the Funders’ Perspective edited by Robert Hazel and Ted Whybrew; price £8.50, ISBN 1 897916 04 3. Contact ACF on 071 404 1338


The National Lottery Act became law on 22nd October, having received Royal Assent, clearing the way for the first prize draw late in 1994 or early 1995. The Lottery will be run by the private sector, regulated by the Director General of the Office of the National Lottery, Peter Davis, Deputy Chairman of Abbey National. The draft licence was published on November 11 and seven bidders have declared their hands; several more are known to be preparation. The final licence is expected in mid-December, with all bids to be made by mid-February. The licence will run for seven years, until March 31st 2001.

The proceeds will be equally divided between charities, the arts, sport, heritage and the Millenium Fund, each of which will receive 20%. The Government will have no influence over the proceeds, which will be distributed by independent bodies. Contact Department of National Heritage 071 211 6200


The administrative costs of Christian Aid Week, the UK’s biggest charity week, will be funded for the next three years by The Co-operative Bank, which is donate £500,000. Announced on October 26, the deal will pay for the printing of posters and magazines as well as the 17 million gift envelopes which are distributed to households during the week, held in mid-May each year. The Bank is heavily promoting its distinctive ethical stance as part of its marketing strategy. Contact David Smith, Co-operative Bank, on 061 832 3456


Medical research is the cause most worthy of charitable support, according to a new survey of public attitudes to giving published in October. The arts and natural disasters overseas are least rated. A representative sample of 1,300 people was interviewed in September and the findings included:

85% support the National Lottery

just 5% donate through payroll giving, although 22% say they would consider it

84% say hospitals should not have to rely on voluntary donations for equipment; the figure for education is 69%.

No questions were asked about public attitudes to the causes which companies support or ought to support. Towards More Effective Fundraising – A Survey of British Public Attitudes in the 90s. £580 to charitable organisations. Contact Justin Charlton-Jones, Millward Brown Market Research, on 0926 452233


From the Charity Trends figures, it is clear that community affairs budgets are still under pressure, ‘though it could be a lot worse – as reported below, arts sponsorship is down 13%. In the face of this resource crisis, it is good to see CAF coming up with imaginative ideas; good, too, to see the non-public sector funders coordinating their thinking in ‘Resourcing the Voluntary Sector’ (well worth reading). With the National Lottery on the way, trends in charitable giving need careful monitoring.

It is very sad, then, that the response from companies to the annual Charity Trends questionnaire was so poor, especially given that CAF and the Directory of Social Change cooperated this year to reduce the burden. Only 159 of the top 500 companies managed a detailed response on their spending, a pitiful 32%, compared to 53% last year (213 from the top 400). For the good of the whole movement, companies really have got to devote the time and effort to getting this right. What can be done to make it easier? Can Community Affairs Briefing help? All suggestions gratefully received.

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 13 – December, 1993