Business in the Community Ireland reported today that 46 of its member companies donated €21.3 million to charities and community groups in 2012. Reading more closely, you realize that just over half of this figure was in cash donations of €12 million. The rest was in in kind donations, €6 million and employee fundraising, €3 million. Employees also volunteered over 139,000 hours to local groups or projects.
These figures reinforce the message to fundraisers of the importance of thinking beyond financial contributions from companies and looking at how a company can make available all of its expertise and resources to charities in a way that will have the greatest impact for the charity. That last part is the most important – “have the greatest impact”. How many of us have facilitated groups of company employees spending a lovely day planting flowers at one of our projects, investing hours of staff time organising how the day would run and being left with a lovely flowery garden, but little else of intrinsic value to the charity.
The best company charity partnerships are the ones that work well on both sides and deliver real impact and value to both the charity and the company. It can feel like walking a tightrope but as the figures from BITC today show, the rewards are rich if you get it right.