Aussie companies are hitting the charity mark with $17 billion donated last year alone.

The Government’s landmark research project, Giving Australia 2016, has launched the largest national study into charitable giving. Here are our top seven takeaways on charitable giving no Australian company should miss!

1. Corporate giving on the rise

Corporate giving has gained its stride with $17 billion granted to the community last financial year. This involved more than 95 per cent of large companies who arranged some form of regular giving, and for companies with over 1,000 staff, this charitable engagement was close to 100 per cent. Three quarters of SMEs also partook in regular giving. Their combined effort represented close to half the business sector’s financial support ($8.5 billion).

2. Workplace giving now the norm

Of those businesses that reported giving in their last financial year, 85 per cent facilitated workplace giving and 45 per cent offered employees formal volunteer programs. Over half of these businesses matched employee donations compounding the charitable impact of these programs. With donors likely to give six times the amount when done in a planned manner, this is offering is a valuable and growing funding stream for the charity sector.

3. Community partnerships come first

The single largest model of charitable giving is increasingly through community partnerships. For large businesses, partnerships made up half of their business donations ($5 billion), and as an entire business sector these partnerships were responsible $7.7 billion in donations. Notably, 66 per cent of businesses preferred to give financially over donating services or goods.

4. Technology and innovation in high demand

The report identified that all Australian businesses are after improved technology solutions. Whether it’s to support giving administration or offer online payroll and volunteering programs – all the more reason for third party providers to fill the gap and meet the need.

5. Giving is more than a ‘Band-Aid’

As principle researcher Professor Wendy Scaifes commented, there’s a strong sense of maturity that’s evolving in Australia’s corporate giving. For large companies, giving programs are increasingly embedded in business strategy, reported as standalone programs to the board and senior-management. This formal integration shifts corporate giving away from a bolt-on approach to a more embedded component to the balance sheet.

6. Shared value not just a phase

While three quarters of large businesses indicate they give because it is the ‘right thing to do’, and in fact would do so regardless of business outcomes, pressure to maximise profits and shareholder returns continue to shape corporate behaviour. Businesses are resolving this tension by moving from philanthropy with no expectations and are embracing a win-win model that has mutual business and charity benefits.

7. Australian businesses gain a unique style

Australian companies are creating new and positive ways to support their communities. Unlike the strategic philanthropy in the US that’s heavily influenced by taxation factors, and the partnership models in the UK that might not relate to the core business – Australian companies are wanting to work closely with charity partners and have a distinct impact that charities alone wouldn’t be able to achieve.

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