This signals a more strategic way of aligning profit and purpose, says national study that explores corporate giving trends in Singapore
Singapore, 28 June 2018 – Companies that engage in philanthropy and volunteerism are finding ways to incorporate their giving into key business functions.
The Corporate Giving Survey (CGS) 2017, is a national study conducted by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) that examines philanthropy, volunteerism and other ways of giving amongst businesses.
Melissa Kwee, Chief Executive Officer of NVPC, said, “Companies are a vital part of building a caring and inclusive City of Good. We embarked on this survey to find out the state of giving amongst companies and identify opportunities to support their businesses. Through this survey, we have discovered that many businesses in Singapore adopt a pragmatic approach to corporate giving by finding ways to strategically align profit and purpose.
It’s good news that that many businesses have embraced corporate giving with an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels both profit and purpose. This people-centric and purposeful approach will help ensure that corporate giving is more impactful and sustainable.”
Opportunity 1: Integrating business and giving seamlessly
64% of the companies that give have found ways to integrate giving into core business functions such as procurement (30%), for example by purchasing products and services from non-profit organisations; marketing and branding (28%); as well as staff development (28%), such as by using volunteer activities to cultivate staff’s professional skills. Companies surveyed found that strategic giving can also be aligned with business goals. For example, 43% of giving companies that engage in volunteering are motivated to do so as it supports their company’s mission or business model, while 66% do so as part of employee-related factors such as team building, talent development, and recruitment.
Opportunity 2: Leaders are pivotal to positive change
Almost half of the companies (49%) that engaged in philanthropy and 42% of companies that volunteer said that interest from senior management drove their respective giving activities. CGS 2017 also found that companies with senior management actively and personally involved in giving were more likely to engage in regular giving (27%) at least twice a year than companies without (19%). Companies with such support also have a higher median number of employee volunteers (10) than those without (2).
According to Kwee, these observations suggest that corporate leaders are stepping up to lead positive change. “The power is in the hands of CEOs and leaders to walk the talk and drive meaningful change. Corporate philanthropy and volunteerism in Singapore needs to be more regular and driven right from the top of the organisation.”
Opportunity 3: Enabling giving to be the new corporate cultural norm
Singapore’s corporate giving culture still has room to grow. Corporate giving largely remains a “blended” role in organisations, as investments in formal corporate giving teams are still an emerging practice. Nine in ten companies have no employees with corporate giving as a primary function, while 76% of these have up to two staff juggling corporate giving as part of a broader work portfolio.
By nurturing a giving culture in the company, perceived barriers to giving, such as a lack of time or limited manpower and resources may be removed as a result of shifting mindsets. For instance, CGS 2017 findings show that some industries with a small number of employees such as real estate and business services, and transportation and storage, have employee volunteerism rates that are on par with those with larger employee pools. This suggests that resource constraints (such as manpower) are not always insurmountable.
A corporate giving culture could also encourage more staff to utilise pro-giving policies such as paid volunteer leave. While 30% of the companies that engage in volunteering have paid volunteer leave policies, the median utilisation rate stands at only 25%.
Jeffrey Tan, Director for Knowledge and Advocacy, NVPC, said, “Many of these barriers identified, and the low utilisation of paid volunteer leave, suggest a need for leaders to drive shifts in perception and organisational cultures. For instance, in a climate of economic uncertainty, organisations can investigate more sustainable ways of giving such as volunteerism or procuring goods and services from non-profit organisations. To address gaps in knowledge on how to engage charities, businesses can turn to intermediaries like NVPC and its Company of Good programme for resources and advice on how to get started.”
Opportunity 4: Room to activate potential givers, and unlock support for niche causes
In addition to the 52% of companies that currently give, a further 31% are keen to start, which could grow Singapore’s corporate giving rate significantly. These potential givers showed a higher preference for hands-on and skills-based volunteering than existing givers, as well as a greater inclination toward niche causes such as animals, the environment, the terminally-ill, and inmates and substance abusers.
Businesses in the information and communications sector were found to be the most willing to give (42%) among potential givers. With Singapore’s move toward digitisation and a Smart Nation, there can be opportunities for the sector to share its expertise with charities and impact the way they run.
However, many potential givers hold back from giving due to concerns around staff, resource and time limitations. If these and other barriers can be removed, potential givers can become active givers, contributing to a wider, more diverse giving ecosystem in Singapore.
To help businesses in Singapore amplify their corporate giving projects or kickstart their own, NVPC will soon be sharing a resource guide with businesses, informed by CGS 2017 findings, that outlines the various stages of the corporate giving journey, and the support required at each stage.
Other notable findings from CGS 2017
- Philanthropy is the most common form of corporate giving in Singapore at 89%, followed by volunteering (39%).
- While cash donations are the most popular (62%), businesses also embrace other ways of giving, such as donations in kind (37%) and purchasing goods from non-profit organisations (30%).
- Accommodation and food services (70%), as well as finance and insurance (58%), are the two industries with the highest giving rates in Singapore.
To download the press kit and presentation deck, please visit: www.nvpc.org.sg/resources/corporate-giving-survey-2017
For media interviews and queries, please contact:
Jessica Chai Pei Shan
NVPC, Lead, Comms and PR
HP: 9823 8554