Strategy the key to community investment

The strong business case for corporates giving back to the community is driving more companies to invest in long-term, strategic community partnerships.  The annual London Benchmarking Group’s (LBG) corporate community investment review showed a continued shift towards support for long-term community projects (receiving 61% of contributions) as opposed to one-off charitable donations or commercial initiatives.

The LBG is a member-based organisation comprising 54 of Australia and New Zealand’s most iconic and influential companies that use a consistent methodology to record and measure their investments and donations to the community. Reported data is then collated and benchmarked against previous years in an annual review.

The 2014 review also found that social welfare programs were the greatest recipients of corporate contributions (25% or $47 million), bucking a recent trend towards education/young people and health.

We believe this trend directly relates to the lack of major natural disasters in recent years. In times of extreme natural disasters such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and Brisbane floods, emergency relief donations tend to rise at the expense of social welfare. With no major disasters since 2011, social welfare has been slowly gaining traction from its 2011 low point of 8% of total contributions.

Other findings of the review included:

  • Nearly 500,000 hours were volunteered by employees of member companies on company time – 12 hours per employee on average
  • An average of $1.9 million was leveraged by each company in donations from third parties such as customers and employees
  • An average of $573 was contributed per employee, up more than $150 from the 2013 average of $420
  • An estimated $77.7 million in revenue was forgone by LBG members for the community’s benefit.

Findings of the annual review and comparative data spanning the past nine years are available here.