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Corporate Giving Study 2021

17 May 2022

This report provides insight into corporate giving in Singapore during the pandemic, and highlights initiatives that businesses and non-profit organisations can adopt moving forward.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented huge economic challenges for businesses in Singapore. However, it was also during these difficult times that business leaders increased their corporate giving to aid the community.

Key Findings And Opportunities

1. The rate of corporate giving increased by 15% in 2021. However, there has been a decrease in the median value of philanthropy.

In 2021, there was a 15% increase in businesses which conducted corporate giving (philanthropy, volunteering and advocacy) from 2017, despite the pandemic. 23% of businesses positively impacted by COVID-19, specifically in the Finance & Insurance and Information & Communications sectors, also gave more over the same period.

Despite this, we saw a decrease in the median philanthropy value given by businesses to $1,000 (from $3,000 in 2017). However, there was a 25% increase in the percentage of employees volunteering.

2. During the pandemic, more businesses reassessed their giving strategies by aligning their giving objectives with core values

CGS 2021 revealed that there was a 10% increase in organisations’ corporate giving objectives being aligned with the company values (54% in 2021 vs 44% in 2017).

While COVID-19 presented corporate leaders with business challenges, it also demanded that companies re-evaluate their role in society, rethink existing business practices and/or ways of giving and reimagine their business models and operations.

The increase in strategic alignment may suggest that there is a growing movement towards companies finding their purpose in giving and in society. This study offers recommendations to help organisations embark on or continue their giving journeys.

3. Mindset shift is required for businesses to see the value of investing in ESG

In an ideal scenario, businesses were willing to allocate only a third of their resources to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities. Only 14% of respondents agreed that their businesses had done well in contributing towards society.

As we head towards a K-shaped recovery, businesses that did well during the pandemic can continue amplifying their giving efforts. Those that were negatively impacted need not necessarily give less if they identify creative ways to contribute.

4. More companies engaged in other forms of giving beyond cash donations, suggesting new opportunities for diverse partnerships.

CGS 2021 found that 75% of businesses conducted at least one form of corporate giving last year, either by giving, or institutionalising and integrating giving within their business operations. The study also found that 66% of corporate givers have integrated giving into their business functions. Beyond cash donations, corporate giving has expanded to include other forms, such as donations-in-kind (+13%), skill-based pro-bono services (+11%) and advocacy (+10%).

CGS 2021 has unearthed several positive trends and opportunities. Amongst them is an increase in partnerships that leverage stakeholders’ strengths. This highlights the opportunity for non-profit organisations (NPOs) to address the misconception that they are passive receivers – but are instead meaningful partners who add value to businesses for greater collective impact.

5. Sustained corporate giving helps businesses generate consistent value creation and better relationships with employees and customers.

According to the study, 1 in 2 businesses gave on an ad-hoc basis, with the majority (84%) remaining undecided on their corporate giving budget prior to the start of the financial year (FY).

Businesses should move beyond reactive giving and plan corporate giving as they would for their business planning. This would include having corporate giving as part of the company’s strategic objectives and formal budget planning. When the value of doing good is measured and recognised, there will also be greater support from employees, customers and business partners across the value chain.

Key to driving this are business leaders. More than 60% of companies cite senior management as responsible for both proposing and approving corporate giving initiatives. The study found that the critical difference between companies with high levels of corporate giving and those without lies in the interest demonstrated by the CEO and senior management.

Download the Corporate Giving Study 2021 to read the findings and insights in full.