It’s a myth that companies must give to charities

I want to talk about a myth, a misunderstanding and a mistake.

The myth is that companies must give to charities. It’s completely untrue. There is no law. They are not obliged to contribute.

The misunderstanding is describing companies’ support of charities as “corporate giving”. This term was used to describe corporate fundraising in the 1990s because the motivation for companies back then was mostly philanthropic. Now we call it “corporate partnerships”, because the motivation for companies is more central to their business and both parties can gain significant benefits by working together.

The mistake is criticising companies for not contributing enough. Unfortunately this seems to happening more of late. Criticising companies in public is hardly going to encourage them to increase their support. Businesses who already make a huge difference might feel under appreciated, and those companies who barely contribute will see it as another reason not to engage.

If companies aren’t increasing their support of charities, then maybe the charity sector is partly responsible for that. Companies receive uninspiring and unsolicited requests from charities every day. It must make them numb to the need.

Companies have an enormous capacity to make the world a better place. On an international level Reckitt Benckiser’s partnership with Save the Children is raising £23.5m to stop diarrhoea being the second biggest killer of children under five. In the UK Innocent Drinks’ partnership with Age UK is helping older people stay warm in winter. And a local solicitors’ partnership with Katharine House Hospice in Stafford is helping families coping with an end-of-life illness receive the care and support they need and to make the most of the time that is left.

Charities have the capability to provide massive inspiration to companies to help them change the world. And they can show them how to do it by creating remarkable partnerships that deliver major benefits for both parties.

So let’s replace the myth, the misunderstanding and the mistake with INSPIRATION!

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