About our pro bono work

Through our pro bono work we support organisations working in six areas – health, education, local communities, human rights, the environment and the arts.

Our companies select their own pro bono partners, often reflecting the priorities or interests of their employees. These pro bono projects range from long-term partnerships to small-scale and one-off campaigns.

In some cases, WPP the parent company, plays a role in coordinating multi-company and global pro bono projects. A recent example is our Common Ground project tackling gender equality, which is profiled in our Sustainability Report.

Companies in all our disciplines undertake pro bono work, including advertising, research and insight, public relations and media buying. This book focuses on work by our advertising and design companies, with examples of pro bono research and public relations campaigns included in our Sustainability Report.

For more information on our social investment see the Sustainability Report, available online at wpp.com/sustainability

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our agencies support the UNSDGs through their work with NGOs active in areas such as health, education, equality and the environment. In this book we have indicated where our pro bono campaigns align with the UNSDGs.

List of the 17 goal icons

Performance in 2016

Our pro bono work was worth £12.5 in 2016 (2015: £13.5 million). We also made cash donations to charities of £7 million, resulting in a social investment worth £19.5 (2015: £19.4 million). This is equivalent to 1.03% of reported profit before tax.

WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £22.8 million on behalf of pro bono clients (2015: £20.8 million), making a total social contribution of £42.3 million (2015: £40.3 million).

The value of our social investment (pro bono work and charitable donations) increased by 0.5% on the previous year.

Wider impacts

Pro bono work can be worth more than an equivalent cash donation because it enables charities to raise awareness, increase donations, recruit members, impact behaviour and achieve campaign goals. We have conducted research to quantify this wider impact. This shows that our pro bono work in 2016, created wider social benefits worth £228 million to society. This includes for example, the impact of charities being able to improve health and well-being in communities.

Pro bono contributions
£m

Pro bono

WPP companies undertook pro bono work worth £12.5 million in 2016. This is down 7% on 2015.

Charitable contributions
£m

Charitable donations

The Group and its companies made cash donations to charities worth £7 million in 2016, up 19% on 2015.

Free media space
£m

Free space media

WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £22.8 million on behalf of pro bono clients, up 10% on 2015.

Pro bono work by
sector
%

Pro bono by sector
  • Arts 8%
  • Education 21%
  • Environment 7%
  • Health 25%
  • Human rights 6%
  • Local community 33%

Charitable donations by sector
%

Charitable donation by sector
  • Arts 4%
  • Education 21%
  • Environment 1%
  • Health 20%
  • Human rights 8%
  • Local community 46%

Total social contribution
£m

Total social
  • Free media space
  • Charitable donations
  • Pro bono

Our total social contribution in 2016 came to £42.3 million, up 5% on 2015.