Charity Funding: Individuals giving less, companies more?

October 01, 1994


The Charities Aid Foundation’s annual Individual Giving and Volunteering Survey has revealed that the average monthly donation to charity has fallen. The typical person gave £2.50 per month to charity in 1993, compared to £3 the year before. However the proportion of people giving per month (81%) is the highest recorded since the survey began in 1987. More women give than men, and typically give more. There has been no real increase in the popularity of tax-effective giving, with only 10% of respondents taking advantage. The highest proportion of people volunteering their time is in Wales (31%) with the lowest in Northern Ireland (15%).

Meanwhile CAF launched a CharityCard on September 22, the first debit card exclusively for charitable donations. A personal charity account is opened by making a donation to CAF via the Give as You Earn scheme, a Deed of Covenant or a Gift Aid payment. The donation is paid into an account held by CAF in the donor’s name, the tax having been reclaimed at the basic rate and added to the account. Donations can then be distributed using a cheque book, standing order or the CharityCard, used as a debit card, to any charitable organisation registered with the Charity Commission. Over 400 charities are already accepting the CharityCard as a way of giving, while GrandMet has already designed its own card for its employees. Contact Paul Blakey, CAF, on 01732 771333


The members of the National Lotteries Charities Board, responsible for distributing one fifth of the proceeds of the national lottery, have been announced. The nominations are categories as follows: for the whole – UK Tessa Baring, a trustee of the Baring Foundation and Chair of the DTI Regulation Task Force on the Voluntary Sector; Amir Bhatia, financial services consultant and trustee of the Community Development Foundation; Julia Kauffman, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need and Sir Adam Ridley, Executive Director of Hambros Bank.

To serve in respect of England – Amanda Jordan, Head of Community Affairs at NatWest Bank; Andrew Phillips, a charity lawyer and member of the Voluntary Sector Deregulation Task Force; Chris Woodcock, Manager of Corporate Affairs at Kelloggs and a board director of the Corporate Responsibility Group.

For Northern Ireland – Aideen McGinley, Director of Development at Fermargh District Council and a trustee of the Northern Ireland Voluntary Sector; William McStay, former administrator of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action; John Simpson, a member of the Citizens Charter Advisory Panel.

For Scotland – Graham Bowie, former Chief Executive, Lothian Region; Philomena de Lima, a member of the Highlands and Islands Training Advisory Committee; William Kirkpatrick, a member of the Gaming Board for Great Britain.

For Wales – June Churchman, Vice Chairman of the Council for Wales Voluntary Youth Service; Tom Jones, a member of the Countryside Council for Wales; Linda Quinn, a member of the Steering Group for Opportunity 2000, NHS Wales.

Under the chairmanship of David Sieff, appointed in May, the board will be an independent body, deciding its own policies and practices but will have to take into account directions from the secretary of state. Contact Voluntary Services Unit, Home Office, on 0171 273 3000


Many of the largest companies in the US are increasing their charitable giving for the first time in a decade, according to the US journal for the not-for-profit sector, The Chronicle of Philanthropy. More than one hundred companies are included in the survey, among the largest in the US, with a combined donation of 61.6 billion in 1993 (including non-cash donations), 25% of all US corporate contributions. Many of those surveyed estimate that due to rising profits, the growth in giving will exceed inflation for the first time in six years.

The survey also revealed that many companies are overhauling their approach, focusing on a small number of key causes which fit closely with their corporate interests and areas of expertise. Several companies are making investment in education a priority, reducing giving in other areas, while others are starting or expanding overseas programmes. Employees are getting more involved – there is a rise in matching employee gifts, employees are being consulted on spending decisions and volunteering programmes are widespread. There is also more emphasis on evaluation – charities are being asked to summarise evaluation techniques in their applications and some companies are hiring outside evaluators to determine the effectiveness of their programmes.

For the future, however, the survey found that the current generation of chief executives is less interested in corporate philanthropy than its predecessor, creating a climate of uneasiness and a need to justify spending. Contact Chronicle of Philanthropy on 00 1 800 347 6969


The fall in personal charitable giving in the UK is to be expected, given the recession and the effect of tax rises eating into disposable income. The continued public expenditure squeeze on local government is also reducing charity income. UK corporate profitability is rising, however, fuelled by export-led growth. So if the Per Cent Club formula is working, we could see a growth in corporate donations when the figures are compiled later in the Autumn – which is what appears to be happening in the US.

Back in the UK, the lottery is the great unknown, with continuing confusion about the polices and practices of the various distribution boards. It is good to see the line up of names on the Charities Board, including two serving corporate community affairs managers (NatWest and Kellogg). The first ticket draw is on Saturday November 19. If more money ends up going to popular charitable causes, then companies should be shifting their resources to more ‘courageous’ issues. The danger is that, in practice, demand for matched funding will pull corporate programmes onto the same policies as the Boards. Then unpopular, innovative and risky work will lose out. Let’s hope the secretary of state will listen to wise counsel.

Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 18 – October, 1994