The A-Z of Corporate Giving

On Wednesday 26th July, Heart of the City hosted an event for 20 of our members companies to take a closer look at corporate giving. Our Director, Sarah Mitchell has shared the top tips she took away from the event.

Giving to non-profits through your company doesn’t have to be on a massive scale to make a big difference. At our A-Z of Corporate Giving event in July Rachel Engel of Macquarie Group Foundation introduced their genuinely bottom-up approach, in which staff lead in selecting and supporting charities in all of the local communities where their offices are based. Macquarie’s experience shows how focusing on the immediate area around the company’s office can engage staff in a meaningful and long-term way with the local community. Rachel emphasised the importance of keeping a good (but simple) governance structure and recording and reporting impact from the start.

Laura Dosanjh from Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) set out how the CAF charity and bank supports companies with the financial mechanics of giving. She reminded us all of the value of payroll giving schemes and introduced some very practical vehicles to help with fundraising, such as dedicated fundraising bank accounts.

The Funding Network (TFN) offer a wholly different approach to giving- they run live crowdfunding events for companies or individuals to meet with, and fund, smaller charities. Karen Millen inspired us with this fun and very practical way for companies to reach out to vetted charities, with the relationship managed and reports completed through TFN. Heart of the City and TFN are planning to hold a joint event in the New Year, so watch this space for your invitation…

The top tips I took away from the event are below:

Giving within your company – Rachel Engel, Macquarie Group Foundation

– Staff-led giving and match-funding the money they raise generates employee engagement

– Giving to smaller local charities has a huge positive impact on their work and on your local community

– Longer term grants from the company can be targeted on charities that your staff have chosen to give to and support over several years

– Make use of local brokers to help you to find good local charities- Heart of the City can help you to find a broker if you aren’t sure where to start

– Recording what your company gives (time and money) and the impact of this is crucial- platforms exist to help you with this – again Heart of the City can help you to source these

– Payroll giving is a tax-effective way of donating to non-profits- Macquarie uses CAF to distribute its payroll funding

– Differentiate between sponsorship and donations to charities- see the HMRC definitions to make sure you know which activities are VAT-able

– When measuring your impact with a charity try to use their existing impact measurement tools rather than asking them to report on something new- this helps them to keep their core costs down!

– Report on what you have achieved- people do want to know! And this will increase the interest of other staff in giving.


Support with giving – Laura Dosanjh, CAF

– Using intermediaries such as CAF helps to make the relationship between donor and cause work well

– Corporate giving can be helped with some technical financial vehicles such as company/partnership accounts or company fundraising accounts

– Developing an impact framework helps your company to channel your efforts into causes and priorities which have the greatest impact

– You need to use an HMRC-approved body to administer a payroll-giving scheme


Have fun with giving! – Karen Millen, The Funding Network

– Individual staff, charity teams and whole companies can get involved with a live crowdfunding event where a small number of vetted charities pitch for your support

– You can allocate some of your company’s giving pot to individual staff members to give to the charities they hear pitch

– You can also offer non-financial support to the charities you meet- helping to start up longer term relationships

– Companies can run in-house events and nominate specific charities

– TFN can really help with staff engagement as their events are sociable and fun

– There is very little admin burden for the company as TFN does all the grant management

– Companies find it’s a great opportunity for networking

– Giving together in the crowd raises much more money for individual charities than a small company can on its own- this brings about maximum impact for your company and much more funding for the charity.


Thank you to Rachel Engel (Macquarie Group Foundation), Laura Dosanjh (CAF) and Karen Millen (The Funding Network) for sharing their tips for corporate giving at Heart of the City’s A-Z of Corporate Giving workshop.


Members can access the presentation slides by clicking here.

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