ADVO Group interviews Steff Lewis, Head of Corporate Partnerships, Give as you Live


Give as you Live is the socially conscious shopping and price comparison site. A percentage of the value of each purchase is passed onto a chosen charity, with more than £5.4 million raised so far for UK charities. Recent research by Give as you Live found that 53% of UK workers haven’t taken part in any fundraising activities with their colleagues over the past year. Steff Lewis, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Give as you Live, provides an expert insight into this research and its relevance for today’s businesses and employees.

The research found that 53% of UK workers haven’t taken part in any fundraising activities with their colleagues over the past year. Does this represent an upward to downward trend in relation to preceding years?

We conducted a similar study in 2013 which revealed that 59% of UK employees hadn’t taken part in any charity activities as work. This means we’re seeing an upward trend in those fundraising in the workplace, however, it’s not a significant rise and a lot more could be done by businesses to help charities.

40% of workers state that their company has no official charity to support. Why do you think so many business are currently failing to engage with charitable efforts?

It’s not that just 40% don’t have an official charity, an additional 20% of workers don’t know whether their company has an official charity or not. I suspect the reason for many businesses that don’t engage the workforce in charitable efforts is lack of resources. It is assumed that charitable fundraising and support will take a lot of time, but, in the digital age, charitable initiatives needn’t put pressure on people’s time and should be seen as a way to increase employee commitment and morale.

44% of workers said that they feel that their company should be doing more to help charities and the local community. Do you think a large number of managers are currently unaware that their employees would like to see them adopt a greater effort with regard to supporting charities?

For many businesses, it is clear that the conversation about corporate charity support hasn’t been happening. We asked that question for the very reason of making managers aware that their employees would like to be doing more.

What are some of the main corporate benefits that businesses could see if they increased their level of charitable work?

There are two major benefits to businesses increasing charitable support: better employee morale and improved company reputation, particularly in the face of its customers and future staff.

What would you advise are some of the most effective initial steps employers can take in increasing their commitment to helping charities?

My advice would be to roll out two or three initiatives that give the employees different options to support charity. The more autonomy you can give employees, the better. For example, give employees the opportunity to vote in the charity you’re running the fundraising for so that they feel they’ve had a say. Other more progressive options like using allow employees to raise money for any charity they choose on a regular basis when they shop online. The purchases employees make every day – stationery and travel bookings, for example, can make a difference to society, as well as giving employees that ‘feel good’ factor.

What are some of the steps that employees themselves can take?

One thing employees should be doing is suggesting fundraising initiatives to the business they work for. Taking initiatives to their boss, such as Give as you Live that requires very little time or effort, can support a business’s CSR activity. My colleagues have initiated initiatives like Giving Tuesday and large social campaigns (‘no make-up selfies and ice bucket challenge). That said, we work with every registered charity in the UK so we’re careful not to favour any one charity.

Do you predict that an increasing number of businesses will support charities as time goes on?

Absolutely. As the UK economy recovers and living standards improve, corporate social responsibility (CSR), which was put to the side because of a shortage of time and money, will be firmly back on the agenda. Also, charitable fundraising is innovating all the time, giving charities new and lucrative revenue streams. We’re releasing research later this year that will show a huge growth in mobile giving, for example.

How do you see the way in which businesses support charities will evolve in the future. For example, a greater integration of technology platforms for fundraising?

Yes, there will be much more integration and automation of CSR initiatives in the workplace. For example, Give as you Live offers a way for businesses to fundraise by keeping the autonomy of individual employees making online purchases for different charities whilst bringing together the money raised into a group total.

As other technologies develop in the consumer space, for example wearable technology and gamification, CSR will be integrated into the workplace in many different ways.