What does the Presidents Club fiasco mean for the state of fundraising in the UK?

No one will mourn the passing of the Presidents Club — a thirty year old institution which dissolved following the shocking FT expose of what actually went on at their swanky fundraising dinners.

Amongst the tales of lewd, disgraceful behaviour is another tragic outcome. Charities have lost out on millions of pounds of donations. During the three decades The Presidents Club has been running, it has raised more than £20m for charity. Thursday’s event alone raised more than £2m.

Charities in the UK are facing a funding crisis. According to CAF, levels of giving in the UK have remained static, while government cuts are affecting important sources of statutory funding.

In a recent speech to the Charities commission, Prince William warned that “Finding more money in a shrinking pot is an existential threat to charities’ survival”.

The Evelina London Children’s Hospital is one of the charities who have promised to return donations from the Presidents club. The total value of past donations is £265,000. The charity has also turned down a pledge of £400,000 to help fund a six-bed high-dependency space within a new intensive care unit. A loss of much needed funds.

So how do we move forwards from here?

Glitzy fundraising dinners may still have a role in getting the rich and well connected to give — and will now benefit from greater scrutiny to ensure the behaviour of guests matches the dignity and compassion of the causes they are supporting.

But there is so much more that businesses can do when it comes to giving. At Work for Good, we believe strongly that business can be a force for good in the world. It’s not about signing a cheque at a fancy dinner, it’s about putting your values into action, and giving at the heart of your businesses.

Our members who give through our platform range from consultants to design agencies, recruiters and accountants. What unites them is a desire to make a difference in the world while growing their businesses. They give through a percentage of their fees or sales, when they hit a target or in their own creative way. No glitz, no champagne, just honest hard work.

Business giving has the power to be truly transformative.

If just five percent of SME’s in the UK gave the equivalent of a day’s revenue to charity, we could raise an extra £208 million. And businesses who give in a way that is thoughtful and displays their values in action will do better too. Sharing your giving story is a great way to enhance your reputation, inspire your team and deepen client and customer relationships.

There is so much potential for business to contribute positively to society, and charities need support more than ever before. Join Work for Good as part of a movement to transform business giving in the UK.