What is a CPA, and why do I need one for business giving?

Increasingly, businesses are building giving into their sales (hurrah!), yet many are not aware of the Charities Act laws around promoting sales with charity when they do so — sound like your business? Read on.

Have you recently promoted a supper-club or a particular product and promised to give away some of the proceeds to charity? If so, we think you are ace and we love this kind of initiative — we need more of it in the world to raise the meagre 2% of charities’ income that is from businesses.

Business are increasingly savvy to the fact that giving is good for not only the causes on the receiving end, but for business, and your bottom line too. As such many are tying charitable giving into their strategy.

Yet we have encountered many businesses who are simply not aware of the fact that unless you have an agreement in place with the charity of your choice, you can’t promote your products or services in association with them. It’s not legal.

Now, nobody is going to go to jail for giving to charity, but there is a law in place as part of the Charities Act 1992 and 1996 that works to protect charities from being used for financial gain without their agreement. It makes sense when you consider that shady businesses might like to profit from pretending to give to charity then keeping the profits for themselves, or misrepresent the charity and damage their reputation.

Back in 2001, in a deal between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and wine company BRL Hardy Europe, members of the public were told in an advertising campaign that a donation would be made to the charity for every glass of Banrock Station wine consumed. In fact, the charity was only receiving 5p for every nine litres of wine sold.

This relatively unknown legal agreement is needed no matter how small or large your company is.

‘It sounds like a hassle to me’

Well, you are right.

Setting up a Commercial Participation Agreement (CPA) involves time, solicitors, contracts and resources. It means that charities often set minimum thresholds for pledges from businesses to make sure they are not spending hours (on average, 10 hours to secure a single donation according to our latest research) to build SME relationships and set up a CPA for very little return.

So what shall I do if I want to donate via my business?

The short answer? Join Work For Good!

No, seriously — it’s the simplest way of giving — especially if you are time and resource poor. It’s the very reason we exist!

We set-up Work for Good to enable businesses to give in a compliant and tax-efficient fashion without having to do all that paperwork themselves. It also means charities can engage with smaller businesses and not turn away giving due to the scope of work associated with receiving it.

We have a vision that strength in numbers will change the face of the business giving world, elevating that shameful 2% figure.

Make your businesses stand out against others when customers are choosing brands. The Work for Good member mark shows that your company cares, and wants to #DoWellByDoingGood.

Want to chat to a member of our team? Book some time in here

Join the movement here and enter discount code DOGOOD2018 for 50% off your first year’s membership