Be in Good Company

The Company of Good is a programme that has been created to engage, equip and empower businesses to be more strategic in their giving.

Singapore, 2 June 2016 – Many companies in Singapore do engage in volunteering and donating activities, according to the findings of the newly released Corporate Giving Survey 2015 (CGS 2015) by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC). While the outlook for the local corporate giving scene is generally positive, there are opportunities for companies to deepen their giving journey by being more thoughtful and strategic in their giving.

“NVPC’s dream is to create a City of Good in Singapore and this involves making “Goodness the Business of Every Organisation”. With this in mind, the Company of Good programme has been created to guide companies on their giving journey. Despite the current economic downturn, companies can still give back through manageable ways such as aligning their giving efforts to their business strategy or purchasing products and services from charities,” Ms Melissa Kwee, CEO of NVPC says.

Promoting and Strengthening Corporate Giving Culture in Singapore

Jointly developed by NVPC, in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation Foundation (SBFF) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the Company of Good (CoG) is a programme that will drive corporate giving in Singapore and empower companies to be better givers. Through their participation in the programme, companies can understand their giving profile, build up their capabilities and collaborate with like-minded partners to do good, all within a framework of holistic giving.

“SBFF views this partnership with NVPC as being critical to promoting corporate social responsibility among companies in Singapore. The CoG programme was developed based on focus group discussions and consultations with businesses representatives and academics sharing their views on corporate giving. We are confident that CoG will be a useful tool in helping companies take their giving to the next level and gaining an understanding of their needs,” Ms Esther Chong, General Manager of SBF Foundation says.

Giving Behaviour of Corporates

According to CGS 2015 results, 3 in 4 companies have donated in the past year and the median amount donated within Singapore per company is SGD$20, 000. Cash donations were the primary way of giving (54%), while the next two most common ways of giving were in-kind donations (49%) and/or event sponsorship (38%).

The top 3 causes supported were fairly focused on children (44%), the elderly (40%) and families in need (34%). In general, corporate giving initiatives in Singapore were mainly run on an ad hoc basis, interspersed with some regular programmes (by 46% of corporate givers).

The findings suggest the lack of diversity and regularity in the way companies think about their giving journey. The traditional way of corporate-cash philanthropy is hugely favoured. Instead of crowding the corporate giving around the usual causes, companies can also look at how to go about supporting under-represented causes.

Motivators versus Barriers to Corporate Giving

A higher purpose of doing good was the top motivating factor for companies to engage in both volunteering and donating. Where only volunteering was concerned, a commitment to doing good for society and enhancing team building opportunities were the top two motivators for both Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises.

Resource constraints such as lack of time, manpower and/or money was the top barrier to corporate giving, for both volunteering and donating. A lack of time was cited as the main hindrance to volunteer for both SMEs and large enterprises.

Guiding Companies on their Giving Journey – Start small but purposefully, build relationships and sustain with the proper measurements

Recognising the motivating factors and challenges of corporates in the local giving landscape and that many companies are willing to give back to the community, CoG was developed to help convert corporate non-givers into givers and encourage companies that are giving to become multipliers and leaders of good. For companies that want to start giving, CoG will provide them with training on how to set up a corporate giving programme that is aligned to their business interests while achieving employee engagement objectives. For companies looking to sustain or strengthen giving, CoG will guide them in identifying other ways to boost their giving programmes and provide them with the resources to do so. Through the CoG network, companies will have the opportunity to share experiences, mentor and collaborate, building an eco-system of giving within the community.

Companies can also measure their giving through a framework comprising 4 ‘I’s. Investment defines how extensively and strategically a company gives. Integration depicts how giving is integrated with business functions and supports business interests. Institutionalisation outlines how giving is supported by its policies, systems and incentives. Impact is assessed by how mechanisms are put in place to measure the outcomes of the company’s giving efforts.

CoG was first mentioned at the Committee of Supply debate by Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth on 14 April 2016. It is part of the Ministry’s plan to grow a culture of giving. A key group of volunteers and donors is the working adults. Businesses are an integral part of the community. The future of Singapore must seebusinesses in our economy being more civic-minded and an active contributor to our communities.