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Multi-million boost for charities as workers donate cash and time


The biggest companies in Ireland and their employees raised €28m for charities and community groups last year.

In addition to cash, the total number of hours donated by Irish employees to community groups and projects has exceeded one million since 2013.

For businesses, as well as the social benefits, charity work is seen as a way to attract and retain employees, according to Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) - an organisation that encourages business participation with community groups.

Bank of Ireland topped the list for employee fund-raising, with grocery giants Tesco, Lidl and Musgrave all featuring among the top five companies for employee fundraising, while communications company BT completed the five.

In total €5.6m was raised through employee fundraising.

Meanwhile, businesses and their employees gave almost €12m in cash donations to charities and community groups, while a further €9.7m was contributed through in-kind donations, according to the 'Business Impact Map' from BITCI.

Bank of Ireland again made the top five companies for cash donations to charities in Ireland in 2017, with ESB topping the list.

SSE Ireland, Energia, and Tesco completed the top five.

During the year, employees also donated 231,668 in volunteer hours to local community groups and projects, the BITCI map found.

The companies that recorded the highest number of volunteering hours in Ireland were Intel, IBM, KPMG, BT and Bank of Ireland.

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In its report yesterday BITCI said that corporate social responsibility (CSR) and company culture is something that employees now consider when looking for a new job.

Tomás Sercovich, CEO of BITCI, said that companies are aware of the fact that by engaging in tackling social issues it can drive employee engagement.

And such a policy also helps to attract and retain employees. "Employees want to work for companies that support their volunteering efforts and crucially want to work where their values align with their employer," Mr Sercovich said.

"Employees now expect their employers to have a community strategy in place as standard."

Health, community, education, poverty and youth were the areas that received most support from businesses last year, with health charities and community groups receiving over €5m from businesses.

A further €4.5m was donated to communities, while another €3.5m in donations went towards education.

Elsewhere, social issues of poverty and helping children and young people also received sizeable contributions.

Almost €3.5m was donated to poverty, and over €2.7m given to children and youth groups, according to BITCI.

And it is not just employees that are taking note of a company's charity and volunteer work, but also investors and customers.

In January this year, Larry Fink, CEO of the world's largest asset management company, Blackrock, announced that the firm intends to support only companies that "serve a social purpose". 

To prosper over time," he wrote in a letter to CEOs of the world's largest companies, "every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society".

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