Survey finds lack of diversity and regularity in corporate giving in Singapore

Cash was the most common way of giving, followed by in-kind donations.
Cash was the most common way of giving, followed by in-kind donations.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Many companies here donate to charity, but to the same few causes and on an ad hoc basis, according to survey findings released on Thursday (June 2).

Results from the Corporate Giving Survey 2015 by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) show that three in four of the 800 companies polled have donated in the past year, and the median amount donated per company 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 companies that practise corporate giving, the top three causes supported were focused on helping children (44 per cent), the elderly (40 per cent) and needy families (34 per cent). Also, nearly half of the corporate givers polled said their giving efforts are run on an ad hoc basis, interspersed with some regular programmes.

Said NVPC 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."

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

The Company of Good programme was also launched on Thursday, to help drive corporate giving in Singapore.

It aims to help train companies set up or improve their corporate giving initiatives. It is organised by NVPC, in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation Foundation. It is also supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, which first announced the programme in April.

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.

In the programme, good corporate giving is measured by investment, integration, institutionalisation and impact. Respectively, this refers to how extensively a company gives; how giving is integrated with business functions; how giving is supported by company policies and systems; and how outcomes of giving efforts are measured.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who was guest of honour at the launch of the programme, said there is a growing body of evidence showing that 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 that about 70 per cent of them choose to work in organisations aligned with their personal values and ideals.

NVPC chief executive Melissa Kwee said NVPC's dream is to create a "city of good" in Singapore and this involves making goodness the business of every organisation.

"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."

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