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Can technology innovation stimulate corporate charitable giving?

Panel discussion examines new approaches to encourage giving from the corporate sector

"Corporate cash giving has remained static over the last few years. The reason may be the ongoing mismatch in the expectations of companies and charities when approaching relationships.

"This means that both sides often remain unaware of what the others real needs are, and the mutual benefit which could be achieved through imaginative and forward-looking collaboration."

Professor Cathy Pharoah's opening remarks at a recent panel event stimulated a lively debate on how to encourage corporate giving.

Hosted by the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness (Cass CCE) and the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP), and chaired by Professor Ian Bruce CBE, the event welcomed:

  • Ron Delnevo, Managing Director of ATM provider Bank Machine
  • Andy Hamflett, Programme Director of Spring, a Big Society Network venture promoting technology enabled philanthropy
  • Tom Levitt, Author and Founder of Sector 4 Focus, a consultancy promoting cross-sector partnerships.
  • Dr. Jon Burchell, Senior Lecturer in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, University of Sheffield.

Delnevo discussed ATM Giving, a new Government initiative enabling UK customers to make charitable donations via ATMs. Whilst Bank Machine has supported the idea, Delnevo said:

"There are about 65,000 ATM sites in the country but only around 9,000 of them are able to facilitate donations and some cards, such as Lloyds bank cards, are not enabled to give."

He further explained that many donors want to give to a specific charity or would prefer to give to a "small or local charity as opposed to a big or national charity", rather than the 'big eight' chosen by the Government.

He proposed the idea of an "ATM charity pot" where various charities would receive a proportion of donations made.

"There is huge potential for this channel to work for charities, but it's going to take a huge effort," he said.

Andy Hamflett continued with the technology angle and explored corporate giving in the digital world. Analysing how companies like Toyota, Chase and Vodafone have implemented schemes using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, he argued that the "presence of social media has added significant value to corporate fundraising campaigns."

He outlined how using social media functions such as the 'like' button, 'hashtags' and 'checking -in' had created a successful buzz surrounding their campaigns. Consequently they had seen a growth in charitable donations to these campaigns.

Commenting on the discussion, Professor Pharoah said: "The event brought the perspectives of companies, charity fundraisers and researchers together with giving experts, generating some honest and refreshing perspectives on the current state of corporate community engagement.

"More platforms which promote company and charity engagement are needed, at national, regional and local levels."

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