Companies search for 'missing piece' to fix charity gift giving

Fifty leading Australian companies are being challenged to find the "missing piece" that will improve their corporate gift-giving as charities increasingly rely on big business for their funding.

Corporate grants and funding made up 20 per cent ($17.5 billion) of charity revenue in the last financial year, according to research conducted by Purposed. Charities including the Wesley Mission, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Landcare Australia said they benefited from more than 175,000 hours of corporate volunteering in the same year.

"Corporates and charities both agree their combined effort can make tangible progress in solving some of the biggest social, environmental, and economic problems of our time. The missing piece is how to do this in an effective way to guarantee real impact," said Purposed managing director Tom Ferrier.

One of the biggest obstacles for corporations is employee engagement, including ensuring employees are aware of the opportunities available to them through their workplace giving program, Mr Ferrier said.

Companies also cite difficulties with tracking the progress of their corporate gift giving, and say staff are often not given adequate support to manage the relationship with the charity.

For charities, not having enough staff can make it difficult for them to make the most of corporate-giving opportunities, Mr Ferrier said. Also, finding meaningful volunteering opportunities for corporates can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help.

"We can see 80 per cent of corporates are offering paid volunteering leave for their staff. That said, there is still a latent opportunity with more than half (58 per cent) of corporate employees unaware of the opportunities available to give back through their workplace," Mr Ferrier said.

As a result companies and charities are getting together in the Corporate Social Impact Challenge 2018, being held from January 31 to February 1.

"We really want to put emotion and experience at the centre of our solution so it does inspire more meaningful and greater corporate gift giving at scale," said Mr Ferrier who was inspired to create this solution by his own experiences when his father passed away.

It will include some of Australia's biggest corporations including Westpac, Qantas, Vodafone, ANZ and Flight Centre, as well as charities such as The Australian Red Cross, OzHarvest, Starlight Children's Foundation, Amnesty International and UNICEF.

"Using design-thinking principles, we hope to empower those in attendance to co-design a solution that will ease the aches and pains of corporate giving for corporates, charities, and government alike," Mr Ferrier said.

"As this is the first event of its kind in the country's history, we hope that it will lead to solutions that challenge our pre-conceived notions about corporate giving, and revolutionises a way forward," Mr Ferrier said.

The ideas will be judged by a panel including neurosurgeon Charlie Teo and will be MC'd by Jessica Rowe at the NSW Art Gallery on February 1.

This story Companies search for 'missing piece' to fix charity gift giving first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.