Benefits of Corporate Giving: Why Charity Partnerships Matter


Should businesses partner with charities? Do charities want business support? Are the benefits of corporate giving worth it?

At ActionFunder we say yes, yes, and yes. But what do others have to say?

We turned to a panel of experts to discuss what non-profits want right now, whether businesses are best placed to provide it, the benefits of corporate giving, and how partnerships could be the answer to giving businesses, non-profits, and communities the support that they need.

Sam Cande, CEO at Responsible Futures, was joined by four business and non-profit leaders, including:

You can watch the on-demand webinar here or dive into the highlights below.

Communities are facing acute challenges and non-profits need corporate support more than ever

At ActionFunder, we always focus on the positive. But there’s no way to put a positive spin on the challenges communities are facing right now. The cost of living crisis is bringing people to their knees.

Charlotte Hill of the Felix Project spoke about how difficult it is for charities to do their work right now. The Felix Project is an organisation that rescues quality surplus food that would otherwise go to landfills. They use the food to prepare meals that they distribute to community partners who in turn feed community members experiencing food insecurity. The organisation made over 30 million meals last year for 1,000 community groups across London.

Now, they’re having a hard time keeping up with the scale of community need. Hundreds of organisations are on a waitlist for meal support. The list is growing by about 40 groups every week. Most of these inquiries are from schools seeing kids come to school hungry.

“We thought the pandemic was bad. The demand is incredibly higher than it was during the pandemic. This cost of living crisis is of a scale that we didn’t see and we haven’t got the same financial support that we had for people during the pandemic… It is incredibly challenging for people out there and for the community organisations that are trying to serve them.” ~Charlotte Hill

Charlotte shared some startling statistics about what they’re seeing at the Felix Project. For a full look, give the webinar a listen.

Businesses are under pressure to meet social value demands while budgets are at risk

While it doesn’t compare to the very real threats community members are dealing with, companies are experiencing their own set of pressures. The social and economic climate is changing daily. Financial officers are scrutinising discretionary budgets. Unfortunately, this puts CSR and ESG budgets at risk.

At the same time, businesses are encountering higher demands than ever to add social value. Especially those bidding for national government, local authority, or large private sector contracts.

Michelle Levi, Director of Social Value at Jacobs, and Chris Dooley, Head of Social Impact at JCDecaux shed some light on what it’s like for businesses right now as they try to deliver on social impact commitments.

“At Jacobs, we’re seeing a 500% increase in the social value questions we’re getting asked at bid stage. And we have to get into a position where we can deliver against those commitments. Part of doing that is working with local charities.” ~Michelle Levi, Director of Social Value at Jacobs


“We have a business built on partnerships, largely with public bodies, and we’re seeing increased pressure on the social value commitments that we’re able to bring to the table… There’s a lot of uncertainty and pressure on budget which means we need to be more creative and imaginative about how we build partnerships that are genuinely valuable and worthwhile and productive for the charities that we support.” ~Chris Dooley, Head of Social Impact at JCDecaux

It’s going to take more than creativity for businesses to come out on top.

Companies have to be smart about where and how they invest in social value. They need to define clear objectives on what the business expects to get out of social impact budgets. And they have to track, measure, and report on the value that their budgets create.

So how can companies create more social value while dealing with budget restrictions and facing an increasing demand to tie those budgets to key business outcomes?

Fortunately, the webinar participants were able to share what’s working in their organisations.

Businesses and non-profits can do more when they work together

Jacobs and JCDecaux are seeing effective and sustainable results by partnering with and funding non-profits that are already ingrained in local communities. These companies aren’t the only ones experiencing the benefits of corporate giving. Our 2023 Social Impact Report revealed that 89% of businesses are actively giving to non-profits.

When businesses and charities work together, non-profits and communities get the sustainable support they need, and businesses add value to their bottom line.

Corporate giving benefits include:

  • winning more contracts and customers
  • increased reach into new audiences
  • higher trust with local communities
  • improved brand reputation
  • higher employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention
  • the ability to attract and recruit top talent

As Michelle Levi observed, these last benefits are of major importance for global companies trying to stay competitive. After all, an organisation is only as good as its people.

“The concept of a job for life doesn’t exist anymore and we’ll see more and more employees vote with their feet if we don’t step up and act responsibly… The generation coming through wants to work for a responsible employer and we can’t ignore that. So, how we give back to society is a big focus for talent attraction.” ~Michelle Levi, Director of Social Value at Jacobs

An easy way to find, fund, and follow the impact of charity partnerships

This expert panel spoke loud and clear: a true partnership should add value for all involved. And when businesses partner with charities the mutual value is substantial.

The things that seem to stop businesses from partnering with local charities are that they either aren’t sure how to find the right partners or that they don’t have the resources to manage those partnerships in a meaningful way. But the benefits of corporate giving certainly outweigh the challenges of finding and managing charity partnerships.

Mark Shearer, Co-Founder and CEO of ActionFunder, shared how dozens of businesses are using ActionFunder’s corporate giving platform to find, fund, and follow the impact of charity partnerships. Talk to the team at ActionFunder to find the local charities on your doorstep.

Be sure to check out the full webinar for a deeper look at the value charity partnerships can add to your business and your communities.

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