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Social investment

In 2007, the total value of our social investment was £16.3 million compared with £24.9 million in 2006.

This is equivalent to 0.3% of revenue (2% profit before tax), short of our annual guideline of 0.4%. This includes direct cash donations to charities of £3.5 million and £12.8 million worth of pro bono work. This is calculated based on fees the organisation would have paid for our work.

The value of pro bono in 2007 excludes £1.5 million of donated media space that WPP media agencies negotiated on behalf of pro bono clients. In 2006, donated media was included in the total reported.

Social investment graph

Pro bono work

WPP companies have a history of supporting charities on a pro bono basis. The donation of our time and skills at no cost or minimal cost is worth much more than an equivalent cash donation. This is because the work we undertake for charities helps them recruit members, raise funds and advance causes. The benefit to the charity is usually many times the value of our input.

An example in 2007 was Grey Group's pro bono marketing and communications support for the 'Stand Up Speak Out Against Poverty' campaign helping to generate even more international attention. The event, organised by the UN, is designed to remind governments of their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals to eliminate poverty by 2015. Grey offices across the world took part, adapting the campaign messages to reflect local cultures and make it more accessible to a wider audience.

Probono work 2006

WPP the parent company

WPP, the parent company, supports a range of charities, with a particular focus on education, the arts and young people.

In the UK we support:

  • Education Africa UK
  • Gambian Education Development Trust
  • International Business Leaders Forum
  • INSEAD Trust for European Management Education
  • NABS, a charity which offers financial, practical and emotional support to those in the advertising industry
  • The London Business School
  • The National Portrait Gallery
  • The Natural History Museum
  • The Royal Opera House
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford

WPP is also a member of:

  • Business in the Community, an organisation that promotes responsible business practice
  • Employers Forum on Disability
  • Media Trust, which provides media support to over 5,000 charities

Many senior WPP executives also give pro bono advice and support. Sir Martin Sorrell is an active participant in programs at the following international business schools: London Business School; IESE, Spain; Indian Business School; Harvard Business School and Boston University.

For a number of years, donations from WPP have been used to build and stock a library at the Lower Basic School in Sanyang village, Gambia. During 2007, we continued our funding to add more books to its shelves and to enable the school to take on a full-time librarian. The funds were also used to build and equip a children's internet centre at the school. WPP's contribution has enabled the regional health clinic at Medina Salaam to buy drugs and to pay the salary of a local nurse.