Little Book of Data

Decide what Data to Record

Identifying what CSR data to record can feel like nailing jelly to a tree, but having a handle on it can do wonders for the efficacy of your programme.

Some solid numbers and clear graphs can be just what you need to get buy-in from senior management, convey your success to customers, celebrate your contributions with colleagues and track the progress of your scheme.

We’ve come up with a standardised way to calculate community investment simply and effectively. We use six categories of data and combine them to get your total giving. This article aims to get you familiar with the six categories.

1.   Cash Donations & Matched Giving

Any donations made by the company. Additionally, this includes donations made through a matched giving scheme. Payroll giving would not be classed under a matched giving scheme as your employees would be doing the giving.

2.   Fundraising Donations

All the money fundraised by your employees or through your customers. This does, however, exclude the time they spent fundraising. Examples of customer fundraising include a) an airline asking its passengers to donate unused foreign currency b) a restaurant chain which invites diners to donate to charity when they pay their bill or c) a supermarket which has collection boxes next to the till.

3.   In-Kind Donations

In-kind donations tend to be things like giving charities use of your meeting rooms, providing lunches to charities or visiting service users, or providing books or stationary.

The options for what we can define as an ‘in-kind donation’ are pretty much endless, so we recommended using the “Replacement Cost” method if you want to place a value on what you’re giving.

Valuing In-Kind Donations

This approach considers what the charity would have to pay to procure similar items if they were to buy them on the open market from you or another provider. This is the same as the ‘Fair Market Value’.

In some cases, in-kind donations are being provided to charities or non-profit because they cannot be sold. In this case, you should apply a discount to the ‘Fair Market Value’ to reflect how much you’d have to discount them to find a buyer on the open market.

You may want to take the following considerations into account:

  • Estimated discount you would have to apply to saleable goods to sell them to a third party
  • Estimate on what proportion of goods are defective
  • Estimate on what proportion of goods will be disposed of by the charity

4.   Unskilled Volunteering Hours

Any activity that could be reasonably completed by any able adult and without some level of professional skills, e.g. a day out gardening in a local park.

5.   Skilled Volunteering Hours

Any activity that does draw on the broad professional skills of your colleagues, but doesn’t involve a service that individual would normally charge for. For example, a CV workshop for young people in the local community using coaching skills, or a day spent providing companionship at an Old People’s Day Centre.

6.   Professional Volunteering Hours

Any activity that involves providing a service which is comparable to one a customer would usually pay for, e.g. legal advice on immigration.

Download our CSR Reporting Spreadsheet

We have put together a simple spreadsheet based around the six categories to give you a head-start with recording your data. You can find out more and download it here.

Something more official…

If you’d like to place a certified Community Value on your giving, consider having a look at Benefacto’s sister project, GivX.

GivX is designed to make valuing and benchmarking your giving easy, and provides you with a single score by which to track yearly progress and compare with other companies.

It is free to use and is based on the same six data points described above.

Interested in how Benefacto could work for your company?

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This article is part of Benefacto's KnowledgeHub. For more help and advice on building an incredible employee volunteering programme, use the navigation above or visit the KnowledgeHub Homepage

Linz Darlington was inspired to start Benefacto when he worked as a management consultant for Accenture. With three paid days off a year to spend volunteering, he had a tough time choosing a local charity where his skills could make a real impact. These days he spends his life matching talented professionals with amazing charities. Contact Linz via