17/01/2013 13:26 GMT | Updated 19/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Going Above and Beyond: The Future of Giving in 2013


It's mid January. Christmas and New Year celebrations are a distant memory and normality has largely returned. Just as Christmas is a time of giving and extravagance - January is the exact opposite - a time for cutting back. The resolutions have begun and detoxes and diets are being strictly followed - for now.

January is a frugal month. But it's not just the waistlines that are affected by strict resolutions. While Christmas can prove bountiful for donations, January is an incredibly tough month for charities. Donations that are so heavily relied upon become increasingly few and far between as corporate budgets are cut and individuals look to save where they can.

This January is potentially going to be even worse for charities than the last. Only in November, the Office for National Statistics indicated that donations to charities fell by as much as 20% in 2012. Meanwhile the Charities Aid Foundation revealed that one in six UK charities is likely to close in 2013 due to a lack of financial support. Austerity continues to bite - consumers and corporations alike are battening down the hatches and those who need the support are most likely to suffer.

But that's not to say that corporations are not continuing to do their bit where they can. Many are going beyond straightforward financial support and are donating to charities through other means. For instance, food retailers provide surplus food to charities like Fare Share or Magic Breakfast, which in turn feed homeless people and school children respectively. This example shows how corporations can support those charities that complement their business without always providing them with monetary assistance. As times remain tough, this is increasingly becoming the future of giving.

We remain strongly committed to charity causes at The Body Shop - it's been in our DNA since we were founded by Anita Roddick in 1976. We've championed fair trade, campaigned against animal testing and helped change country legislations to stop sex trafficking. This year we're focusing our support on a partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust - the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival of young people living with cancer.

Every day in the UK as many as six young people between the ages of 13 and 24 hear they have cancer. Together we'll be working to change their lives through building self-esteem - something that is strongly ingrained in The Body Shop's values. We have a fundraising target of £250,000 but central to the partnership is our goal to support the charity beyond financial means.

To that end, we will be working directly with those young people that the charity supports. Our professional make-up artists will deliver make-up workshops for patients in the Teenage Cancer Trust's 23 specialist units across the UK. We'll also be offering work experience placements in The Body Shop stores and at head office - to give young people the opportunity to experience a taste of retail and business life.

We hope to bring young people with cancer together so they can support each other and lessen the painful isolation many feel at such a difficult time. Together with the Teenage Cancer Trust, our goal is to help young people with the huge impact on body image and self-confidence that cancer and cancer treatments can create.

As January progresses, it's time for business leaders to assess how they can support charities and those in need - particularly those that complement their business values and objectives. It's not always about financial assistance - help can come through many methods and it's time for companies to become more creative with their third sector support.

Top Tips for a Charity Partnership:

1. Ensure the charity you partner with truly resonates with your company's values

2. Consider how your staff can become involved to boost morale inside and outside the business

3. Consider how your business can help the charity beyond straightforward fundraising

4. Ensure staff are motivated with fundraising activities- choose a charity that they too want to support

5. Set goals and a time frame for the partnership to ensure both organisations know what to expect from the relationship