Fundraising, Funding sources

The 1% club

Find out what companies are currently injecting into the charity sector.

Have you ever wondered how much companies give to charity each year? Or perhaps more interestingly, how much of their profits go to charitable causes? Well, the figures may surprise you. 

The latest research from DSC’s The Guide to UK Company Giving (14th Edition), contains detailed information on over 400 companies and 160 associated grant-making charities that support charitable causes. Our research shows that of the 223 companies that we have giving data for, 70 either gave or pledged at least 1% of their pre-tax profits to charitable causes in the UK.  

So, the big question is how much is 1% across 70 companies? Quite a lot it turns out! DSC’s analysis found that this was a combined £230 million in cash and in-kind donations, mainly in financial years 2020/21 or 2021.  

But that’s not the whole story… stats like 1% or £230 million don’t convey the diversity of support offered by companies and their grant-making charities, so here’s a look at some great examples of corporate support: 

Alpkit Ltd 

Formed in 2004, Alpkit is an outdoor equipment manufacturer and retailer with ten stores across the UK. Alpkit donates 1% of sales and at least 10% of annual profits to support grassroots projects through its foundation. The Alpkit Foundation makes grants of £50 to £500 for outdoor projects focussed on diversity and inclusion, health, education, the environment and increasing participation in outdoor activities. Since its establishment in 2015 the foundation has donated over £500,000 to 1,800 projects. 

Central England Co-operative 

Through its Community Dividend Fund, the society makes charitable donations of between £100 and £5,000 to a wide range of local community groups in its trading area. The fund guarantees that at least 1% of the society’s trading profit is reinvested in local communities, in a bid to help projects to thrive across its trading area of 16 counties from the Midlands to the east coast, with grants awarded every three months. 

Nationwide Building Society 

Each year, 1% of Nationwide’s pre-tax profits is donated to good causes, including its own social investment work. Through various initiatives and its corporate charity, Nationwide is committed to tackling the housing crisis and educating young people in numeracy and developing money skills. The building society makes funding available for housing-related charities through its Community Grants programme. Grants of between up to £60,000 will be awarded to charities, community land trusts and housing co-operatives looking to make positive changes in their local areas. In 2021/22, a combined £4 million was awarded to 94 housing projects across the UK. 

Others supporting social change  

Globally, there are several organisations encouraging companies to donate 1% of their pre-tax profit to charitable causes, here are two impactful examples.  

1% for the Planet was established by the founder of the fashionable Patagonia clothing brand, Yvon Chouinard. Members of the network commit to give 1% of gross sales through a combination of monetary, in-kind and approved promotional support directly to Environmental Partners. 1% for the Planet then certifies all member donations by reviewing and confirming sales and donation details annually. Since its establishment in 2002, members have given a total of $435 million to environmental causes.  

Pledge 1% encourages companies to give 1% in either equity, time, product or profit. The movement’s 10,000 members have so far pledged over $500 million. 

When is less actually more? 

When we’re talking about companies who can make huge pre-tax profits each year, relatively small commitments (1%) can have a large cumulative effect (£230 million). The finding above shows that despite the difficulties that companies have faced over the past two years, they continue to inject a significant amount of cash and in-kind donations to the charity sector each year.  

‘The 1% Club’, is a great example of corporate organisations supporting charities and helping those who are facing the most challenging of times. For more on sourcing company giving for your organisation, DSC’s The Guide to UK Company Giving (14th Edition), is available now.