WhatCharity.com helps individuals and companies to match with charities more effectively. Listening closely to our platform users has brought to our attention some common sticking points when it comes to charity-company collaboration. Also, a recent study by a charity sector think tank NPC* quite shockingly revealed that 50% of charities have taken company volunteers they did not actually need, due to fear of upsetting their company partners.

This finding really concerned us as we are sure it would concern any company working with a charity. Why would a company want to volunteer and make no impact or in the worst case scenario create negative impact?

Companies often build their programmes from the team building perspective or use charitable giving as part of their brand building. Due to the lack of a long term partnership with a charity, they often have little knowledge of how charities actually operate.

Clearly, a “win-win” mentality and better communication is needed on both sides. Charities need to be in the driver’s seat during collaboration discussions, whilst companies need to better understand the charity’s requirements and the impact of their projects. 

Some companies have advised us that it has been difficult to get timely responses to queries or even get in contact with the charities they wished to collaborate with. Finding suitable charities to work with is considered too time consuming, which in turn results in a loss of volunteer hours and donations. In light of the fact that there are more than 180,000 registered charities in the UK and over 600,000 additional unregistered charities – this seems like a waste.

Consultants and Human Resource Executives create “team days out” with charities. Their intentions may be good, but often more satisfying the hunger for curiosity than the hunger of beneficiaries.

Companies who invest in company citizenship and charitable programmes need charities to report results and impact created together, which sometimes seem too much for charities to deliver as they do not have skills or resources to do so. But shouldn’t every charity know if their work actually makes a difference, for their beneficiaries sake?

We decided to get some serious numbers and insight behind the assumption that there is a gap in the current charity-company engagement model.

We created a pilot study to obtain information from charities regarding their current state of collaboration with companies and what they would wish for the future. We received 558 answers from charities of all sizes, roughly corresponding to the percentages of charities in different size categories in the UK

Here are the key findings of this survey: whatCharity_Survey_Key_Findings_May2018

So why did we want to learn more? First of all it’s part of our ethos to help the sector and it’s time we talked about these challenges openly so both charities and companies can improve how they collaborate.

Secondly, whatCharity has a bespoke service for companies to match with new charities, learn about their impact and shortlist e.g. volunteering opportunities for their employees.

We believe we have cracked the code for any company to contribute to their close communities with little or no admin costs and in the way that motives the employees the most.

But let’s start with the key stats derived from our recent survey to understand the current state of collaboration and what the charities would need and prefer when it comes to donors and volunteers.




Roundtable discussion on charity-company partnerships (VIDEO)

*NPC, New Philanthropic Capital, Building more impactful corporate-charity partnerships, March 2018