I chaired a debate last night as part of the Marketing Society’s not for profit group. Leading the opposition was Chris Macleod, Head of Group Marketing at Transport for London, London’s largest advertiser. Seconded by expert Richard Harrison, Director of Research at The Charities Aid Foundation, working to create greater value for charities and transforming the way donations are made. And finally Neil Boorman writer, journalist and consultant, who famously lived without brands for a year.
Supporting the motion was Dax Lovegrove, Head of Business and Industry at WWF responsible for developing corporate relationships with the likes of M&S, challenging unsustainable practices. With seconder Maya Prabhu, Senior Philanthropy Adviser from Coutts & Co, where she advises and creates strategies for family foundations and also ensure issues and causes are understand. And finally, on the team Paul Farthing, High Value Relationships Director at Cancer Research UK, one of the UK’s biggest charities with over £420m income raised last year.
The debate was won by the team supporting the motion stating that the big NGOs had the expertise to address the big global challenges like CO2 emissions, AIDS and water scarcity. More cash would enable solutions to be found, developing new systems working with corporates to potentially ‘future proof’ our planet’s resources. Of the £44billion income received by UK charities only a 20th comes from corporates, is that too much to expect? The opposing team said that corporations weren’t set up to give money in this and they too called for a new model which moved away from the old fashioned ‘alms house’ giving to new ways to embed within business with better accountability at its heart. Also only the cuddly popular charities would survive – what about the less appealing causes? And shouldn’t corporate tax been used to address some of these issues?