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Why businesses of all sizes need to give back

Corporate philanthropy is on the rise, following a plateau in recent years.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the total amount donated and claimed as tax-deductible donations in 2012-13 was $2.29 billion, up $51 million from the previous income year.

Donations from Australian businesses amounted to approximately $850 million.

Philanthropy Australia believe that an increase in public awareness of philanthropy and its benefits has encouraged more people to give for the first time.

Large corporations are still the frontrunner contributors to not-for-profits, but donations from smaller-scale businesses are gaining momentum.

Inertia Engineering partners with not-for-profit organisation Buy 1 Give 1 (B1G1), which is funded by a unique membership model, allowing small to medium-sized businesses to contribute directly to projects and causes of their choice.

Inertia Engineering Managing Director Scott Clements says partnering with a not-for-profit allows staff and the firm’s wider network to directly see the impact of their day-to-day work.

“A portion of our profits go to a project or cause of the staff’s choosing, and this impact is then relayed to our clients through a card or certificate,” Scott says.

“It’s incredible to see the difference small actions really can make on people’s lives. As a business owner, I feel we’re responsible for making an impact on global communities. Not only is it a great feeling to give back, but it’s a feeling that everyone in the office can share and be accountable for.”

Crowdfunding, the rapid change in technology and simplified giving structures are making it easier for businesses of all scales to fulfill their social responsibility.

B1G1 receives contributions through a simple online giving platform, which allows for fast and accurate reporting to be shared with contributors and their wider network.

B1G1 Founder Masami Sato says it’s vital to make giving accessible.

“We believe that if business giving was made really easy and effective, then every business owner would want to give back and make a difference,” Masami says.

With the recent increase in the number of philanthropic organisations in Australia comes greater choice for donors. Many businesses are choosing to donate to causes that are more relatable and personal to their organisation.

Since 2008, Fulton Trotter Architects has actively supported Art from the Margins, a program assisting artists living with mental health issues, physical or intellectual disabilities and homelessness.

Their generous contributions help to provide exhibition and professional development opportunities for over 400 artists living in and around the Brisbane area.

Art from the Margins is all about enhancing people’s lives though creativity and design – it’s inherently aligned with our values as architects,” says Fulton Trotter Architects Director, Paul Trotter.

“We love to support any means where creativity inspires people to do great things.”