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Apr 22, 2024
Academy of Givers

Academy of Givers’ members and a number of Voluntary Organisations were called to give their feedback on the findings of the report and brainstorm a possible way forward. Find out what was discussed.

The recently launched Giving Report Malta was born out of the need to understand the current situation of the Giving Sector in Malta. In a recent meeting, Academy of Givers’ members and a number of Voluntary Organisations were called to give their feedback on the findings of the report and brainstorm a possible way forward.

By highlighting trends in Corporate Giving onboth the side of Businesses and of Voluntary Organisations, the Giving Report paints a comprehensive picture of the current situation and paves the way forward.

The research conducted between December 2023 and February 2024 has underlined how, overall, businesses in Malta do provide support to the Voluntary Sector. Numerous Businesses are actively engaged insupporting VOs, with 83% (107 out of 129 total respondents) confirming their support. Of these, 65% give both financial and non-financial support. Only 19% give only non-financial support. The trend is confirmed by VoluntaryOrganisations, where 58% (34 out of 57 organisations surveyed) affirm they are receiving help from Businesses. A remaining 37% is not being helped but wishes to be.

Among the main reasons businesses give there is Purpose, the willingness to create long-lasting positive impact and an adherence to well-rounded CSR strategies. All in all, Maltese businesses wish to leave a legacy, and they mostly do so through unrestricted financial donations given to NGOs (56%), while some might engage in in-kind support (44%) as well as professional pro-bono services (29%). Even if financial support is always well received, pro-bono services and in-kind are also appreciated by VOs, as this enhances the quality of the NGO’s work.

The trend is clear: businesses in Malta are already doing a great job when it comes to supporting and more organisations wish to be on the receiving end of that. However, as research shows, a strong preference – when it comes to the causes that receive the most of support – emerges for Environment and Health and Disability sectors, followed closely by Education and Community Development. Moreover, when it comes to the main aspects that a business chooses to consider when selecting the organisation to support, prevalence is given to the cause of the VO (100%), the Impact of the VO (90%), common values (83%), and compliance with the Office for the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations (74%).

One interesting finding is the different concept of long-term that businesses and NGOs tend to have: while 57% of businesses state that they provide “long-term support, over a number of years”, from the point of view of NGOs this is not confirmed. Indeed, 74% of VOs state that most of their support is “one-time support to a project”. However, greater value is usually created when relationships are built over time, through trust and mutual commitment to the cause.

Building on these findings, the Academy of Givers organised a follow up session to discuss the way forward with representatives of both the business and voluntary sector. Through a group exercise that explored the key findings of the report, attendees from both the business and the VO Sector were able to analyse critical issues of the current giving environment and envision their own solutions.

Starting from the first recommendation of the Giving Report, suggesting a need to learn how to meet expectations and to “speak the same language”, attendees were brought to analysing the source of the issue, highlighting the importance for NGOs to provide all required information, so businesses considering supporting them can make informed decisions. It is also important for NGOs to approach businesses in a timely manner, as well as to be able to adjust their projects to the allocated amount of funds. On the other hand, businesses need to be clear on what they are offering and at what conditions (e.g. budgets, expected outcomes, application process, timelines and reporting requirements). To avoid any issue related to reporting, businesses were advised by NGOs to create standardised templates for reporting and share them beforehand. This way, the VO will already be made aware of the requirements and put in a position to better evaluate whether they have enough capacity to carry out the process.

However, businesses often don’t know where to find projects that need support and may lack knowledge of the Voluntary Sector, so funds might end up being allocated to a few renowned entities.  Suggestions were made that NGOs – especially smaller ones – engage in more networking activities and publicity, to make their achievements widely known. On the other hand, businesses should make their pillars and funding opportunities public and known to the VOs, as well as offering more pro-bono services that would help VOs market their projects and,in turn, amplify their message and possibilities to receive support.

Recommendations were also directed to the Academy of Givers, advised to research and provide information on current socio-economic trends, so that businesses will be aware of what are the most pressing issues in Malta, as well as continue acting as enabler between VOs and Businesses.

All in all, what emerged was the need to build trust between the two sectors, and trust can only come with increased knowledge and understanding from both parties. One good way for businesses to be more involved and knowledgeable might be through joining the board of administrators of the supported NGO, or by reading regular impact reporting from the VO.

In shorth,

  • Businesses and NGOs need to be aligned on their needs and expectations when creating partnerships.
  • Knowledge of the VO sector needs to be expanded, while businesses need to make their pillars and preferred causes known to the VOs.
  • Small NGOs need to make themselves known.
  • Trust needs to be built between the parties.

Curious to know more about the Giving Sector in Malta? Read the full report here.