Performance in 2015
Our social investment was worth £19.4 million (2014: £21.8 million). This is equivalent to 1.3% of reported profit before tax. It includes cash donations to charities of £5.9 million and £13.5 million worth of pro bono work based on fees the organisations would have paid for our work. In addition, WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £24.4 million on behalf of pro bono clients (2014: £25.1 million), making the total social contribution £43.8 million (2014: £46.9 million).
The value of our social investment (pro bono work and charitable donations) decreased by 11% on the previous year, while our overall contribution including free media space was down by 7%. This drop is primarily due to
a fall in the value of pro bono work from 2014, which was a year of particularly strong performance.
The impact of our social investment
Our support helps NGOs and charities to carry out their important work in areas such as improving health, education and protecting human rights. We have conducted research to understand the value of this impact to society. This shows that our pro bono work and charitable donations generated social benefits worth around
£97 million in 2015, for example, by helping to improve health and well-being in communities. Read more
in social impacts.
Engaging the WPP Fellowship
The WPP Fellowship was established in 1995 to create future generations of
leaders for WPP companies, attracting the best graduates from the world’s top universities and giving them a unique introduction to the world of marketing communications. The Fellowship is comprised of three one-year rotations
through WPP companies, with a senior executive mentor from WPP assigned
to provide overall career guidance.
As well as working within our companies, we provide opportunities for our Fellows to use their skills to support social initiatives. This supports their professional development while making a real difference to communities around the world.
Working with The International Exchange
Through our partnership with The International Exchange (TIE), a non-profit organisation, operating in Recife, Brazil, many of our Fellows complete short-term work placements with nonprofits and social initiatives in emerging markets. Recent examples include:
Yewande Sokan of Maxus London worked with ActionAid and three other organizations in Pernambuco Brazil to raise awareness of gender violence and
to teach children and teenagers about their rights. Together, they developed
a campaign to help girls understand their self-worth and prevent them from
falling into the cycle of prostitution.
Milla Chaplin of Mango Media, Myanmar worked with organisation CPP in Recife, Brazil, to develop a campaign to change the way public schools see and prepare school meals, to improve health and nutrition for children in poor communities.
Tiffany Winter of Mindshare Entertainment New York developed a campaign to raise awareness of The Golden Baobab, a Ghanaian organization working to address the issue of insufficient quality children’s books in Africa, and to discover, nurture and celebrate promising writers and illustrators of African children’s literature.
Supporting the School of St Yared
The School of St Yared is committed to fighting poverty through education.
Since 2009, the school has given Addis Ababa’s poorest and brightest children
a world-class, bilingual education, three meals a day and regular health checks
free of charge. The school relies on a small pool of donors to pay for each child’s education with all their fundraising and communications carried out by a group
of dedicated volunteers based in Perth, Australia.
A team of WPP Fellows are supporting the School of St Yared, developing a communications strategy to engage their existing network and raise their profile with new donors. This has helped the school tell its story on Australian media, to run its first ever Christmas campaign and, for the first time, secure sponsorship for 40 new students before the start of the academic year. The Fellows also helped St Yared’s launch ‘Kids Helping Kids’, which encourages Australian schoolchildren to get involved in fundraising for the school. This raised over AUS$12,430 in six months.
Our research, PR and media companies provide pro bono services to organisations working in areas such as health, education, human rights, community, the environment and the arts. A small selection of examples from 2015 are included below.
Selected pro bono campaigns by our advertising agencies and our branding, direct marketing and digital companies are published in our Pro bono book, available at www.wpp.com/sustainability.
Employee volunteering and fundraising
Our employees give their time and raise funds to support the work of charities and community organisations. This also benefits our business by improving employee engagement and team working.
Sometimes our companies join together to support local causes. For example, during 2015, 15 WPP companies in the Philippines came together to help build 30 new typhoon-proof homes and a community hall for people displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. As well
as giving their time as volunteers the agencies donated
$121,000 to support the rebuilding work.
Volunteering and fundraising at our companies in 2015 included:
WPP the parent company
Most of our social investments are made by our operating companies, but we also make donations from WPP,
the parent company. These focus on organisations working in the areas of education, the arts and young people. Our senior executives also act as communications advisors to many NGOs and non-profits.
On occasion, we partner with our clients on social causes. For example, during 2015, Sir Martin Sorrell participated in the Leadership Lessons initiative of the Vodafone Foundation and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide advice and inspiration to young refugees. Sir Martin Sorrell
participated in a one-hour lesson to a group of children and teenagers in Kenya via video link.
WPP India CSR Foundation
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and an important market for WPP, but the country faces many social challenges. Only 44% of children in India complete schooling up to class 10 (around age 15), with poverty a major barrier to education for many children.
Our business in India has established the WPP India CSR Foundation, with a vision to “Enable children and youth from vulnerable and marginalised communities to achieve their full potential through holistic child development with a focus on education, life skills and health”. This will bring together all the social investment activities of WPP companies in India, contribute to positive social change in the country and help us comply with regulatory requirements. The Foundation, established in 2015, will be investing £3 million to reach 10,000 children aged 11-18 over the next
three years with a focus on supporting education and vocational training. Programs will be run in partnership with well-established local non-profit organisations the Genesis Foundation, Hope For Children and Magic Bus.
Recent organisations WPP has supported include:
- Action for Children
- Anthony Nolan Marketing
- Caryl Jenner Productions Ltd
- Chai Cancer Care
- Clapton Common Boys’ Club
- Clover House Therapy
- Douglas Baker Foundation
- Drive Forward Foundation
- Farms for City Children
- Garden House Parents Association
- Happy Days
- Have Stick Will Travel
- In Touch
- Jewish Blind And Disabled
- Kids Cancer Charity
- Listening Books
- Lively Minds
- MACCABI GB
- Nabs Trading Ltd
- National Portrait Gallery
- Northside Youths & Community Connections
- Police Community Clubs of Great Britain
- Respite Association
- Royal British Legion
- Royal Star & Garter Homes
- Save the Children UK
- Sightsavers International
- Spadework Ltd
- Special Olympics Inc
- Starlight Children’s Foundation
- Sunny Days Children Fund
- Suu Foundation
- The Fifth Trust
- The Food Chain
- The History
Of Advertising Trust
- The INSEAD Trust For European Management Education
- The Jennifer Trust
- The Matthew Trust
- The Outward Bound Trust
- The Presidents Club Charitable Trust
- The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community
- The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home
- Tower Hamlets Mission
- Union of Jewish Students
- Wellbeing Of Women
- West Coast Crash Wheelchair Rugby
- World Jewish Relief