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UK SMEs: Support for charities is strong but warn about ‘donation fatigue’

The UK’s SMEs are clear about the benefits charity support has on employee morale and the positive messages it sends about a company’s culture; however, many feel their workers are suffering from ‘donation fatigue’, most notably in London according to the latest independent research* from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

  • 53% of firms support a charity  
  • 63% feel supporting a charity is important for employees’ morale
  • 41% think their employees are suffering ‘donation’ fatigue; in London, this rises to 71%

    Over half of SMEs polled said they supported a charity – rising to 82% in London – noting that it both creates a bond in the team and gives employees ‘something positive to focus on’. While 47% of SMEs don’t formally support charities, of those 11% feel they aren’t ‘big enough’.

    “Over the last few years, in particular, support for charities has increasingly become embedded into businesses’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda and strategy,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “At Close Brothers we support a number of charities and strongly promote a culture of donation and participation because of the opportunities this provides for employees to work together for a common cause.

    “This comes with multiple benefits, from promoting employee morale to attracting new talent to the business, many of who put a large amount of store in a potential employer’s CSR commitments.”

    Time off for charitable activities  

    Business owners have been found to be particularly generous by allowing employees time off to participate in charitable events, with 39% allowing paid time off and a further 31% offering unpaid leave. The remaining 30% ask employees to take it as annual leave.


    *All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Lightspeed survey conducted in August & September 2019. The survey canvassed the opinion of over 900 SME owners across the UK and Ireland and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses.