Businesses call ‘Silent Night’ on traditional Christmas parties and donate savings to charity

Research conducted by social enterprise Beam found that nearly one in five businesses are planning to donate their Christmas party budget to a social cause.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses are calling off Christmas parties this year, but some are choosing to use their budget to support good causes.

A report which spoke to 500 business leaders* found that only a fifth of UK businesses are planning to go ahead with their Christmas party this year.

Another 13 per cent said they were hoping to go ahead, but that it would be different from previous years where up to two thirds (67 per cent) were hosting parties.

As such, Beam, who crowdfund job training for homeless people and support them into stable work, have launched a “Donate Your Christmas Party” campaign.

The campaign is calling on businesses to donate money they can’t spend this year on parties to support homeless people into work.

Since launching in 2017, Beam has amassed a giving base of more than 6,000 supporters, who between them have donated over £1 million.

As of November 2020, Beam has helped to positively change the lives of 381 people.

Their research found that nearly one in five (17 per cent) businesses are planning to donate their Christmas party budget to a social cause, with a further seven per cent planning to volunteer in lieu of a party – showing that some businesses are preparing for a more altruistic Christmas this year. 

Of those planning Christmas parties, three quarters (75 per cent) of businesses said they will be spending less this year, with 51 per cent cutting their budgets by half compared to previous years.

This means that over half of businesses are expected to spend an average of £5,810 on their Christmas celebrations this year, compared to £11,859 in recent years.

Findings from the research. (Beam)

In light of the findings, Beam has revealed that the average amount to fund a homeless person into work is £2,700, highlighting that the savings made by UK businesses this festive season could support a number of people into training and full time work before the year is up. 

The research also found that parties were not the only way to have festive fun, with many businesses planning other events like virtual movie nights, remote Zoom quizzes or even giving employees an extra day off.

Around 7% of businesses said they would be volunteering for charity this Christmas. (Beam)

Alex Stephany, Founder and CEO of Beam, said: “Our research shows that businesses are planning to get creative with their Christmas parties this year, from hosting virtual movie nights to ordering mass take-outs for the whole company.

“However, the most interesting trend is the desire among businesses to be more altruistic this year – by either donating their Christmas party budget to a good cause or volunteering for charity instead of celebrations.”

Kindness is shining more than ever this Christmas, as more than a third (35 per cent) of those surveyed said that the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable people has made them more likely to give to a charity this year.

Of those businesses planning smaller scale Christmas parties, nearly a third (32 per cent) said they will spend their remaining budget reinvesting it into the business, while just over a quarter (26 per cent) of businesses are planning to use any money saved to hand out Christmas bonuses to their employees and a further 20 per cent are planning to put any Christmas party savings into employee wellbeing initiatives.

Around 13% of businesses said they would be planning remote celebrations with colleagues such as Zoom quizzes. (PikWizard)

Beam’s CEO has called on businesses to help chip in to Beam’s “Donate Your Christmas Party” campaign.

“We also know that businesses are spending less on Christmas parties because of Covid-19. 100% of donations will fund job training for people experiencing homelessness – enabling them to upskill, earn a living and get back on their feet. If lots of companies chipped in, we could provide hundreds of homeless people with the best Christmas gift possible,” he added.

You can learn more about Beam’s “Donate Your Christmas Party” campaign here.

*The research of 500 business leaders was conducted by Perspectus Global on behalf of Beam during November 2020.

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