Most firms give to charity but many on ad hoc basis

Survey also shows lack of diversity in causes chosen; new drive to spur corporate giving


Many companies here donate to charity, but to the same few causes and on an ad hoc basis, according to survey findings released yesterday.

Results from the Corporate Giving Survey 2015 by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) show that three in four of the 800 firms polled donated in the past year, and the median amount donated per firm was $20,000.

Among respondents that donate, cash was the most common way of giving (54 per cent), followed by in-kind donations (49 per cent) and event sponsorship (38 per cent).

Among those that practise corporate giving, the top three causes supported were children (44 per cent), the elderly (40 per cent) and needy families (34 per cent).

Nearly half of the corporate givers polled said their giving efforts are run on an ad hoc basis, interspersed with some regular programmes.

The NVPC said in a statement: "The findings suggest the lack of diversity and regularity in the way companies think about their corporate-giving journey... Instead of crowding the corporate giving around the usual causes, companies could look at how to go about supporting under-represented causes."

  • Results from the Corporate Giving Survey 2015 showed that three in four of the 800 companies polled donated in the past year.

    *Cash donations

    *In-kind donations

    *Event sponsorship

    **Supported children's causes

    **Supported elderly causes

    * From among those who donated

    **From among those who donated and/or volunteered

The survey also found that a sense of higher purpose of doing good was the top motivating factor for firms to be involved in volunteerism and philanthropy, while resource constraints, such as the lack of manpower, was the top barrier.

To help drive corporate giving, the Company of Good programme was also launched yesterday.

It aims to help train firms to set up or improve corporate-giving initiatives. It is organised by NVPC, in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Foundation.

Companies can take an online quiz to assess their corporate-giving programmes, access online resources to learn how to give better, and join a network of companies that support corporate giving.

There are 50 founding members of the initiative, including Singapore Press Holdings and OCBC Bank.

The bank's head of group corporate communications, Ms Koh Ching Ching, said: "Through this programme, companies - no matter how small or large - will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded partners to start a culture of giving and do greater good together."

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who was the guest of honour at the launch of the programme at Capitol Theatre, said a strong corporate-giving culture helps a business attract customers and retain staff.

She said: "Just as we choose to be with friends of good character, customers will choose to identify with businesses that share causes close to their hearts."

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, of nearly 7,700 millennials in 29 countries including Singapore, also found about 70 per cent of them choose to work in organisations aligned with their personal values.

NVPC chief executive Melissa Kwee said companies both large and small can contribute.

"Despite the current economic downturn, companies can still give back through manageable ways such as aligning their giving efforts to their business strategies or purchasing products and services from charities," she said.

•For more information on the Company of Good programme, go to

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline Most firms give to charity but many on ad hoc basis. Subscribe