Based on a survey of societies conducted earlier this year, the BSA has written a report entitled Building societies at the heart of their communities which explores societies' charitable activities within their local communities.
The report finds that building societies are engaged in a wide variety of community activities, supporting local causes with donations of money, staff time and expertise.
Building societies' mutual structure grants them a sense of responsibility to their communities which helps to distinguish their charitable activities from those of large publicly quoted companies. Frequently, building society members help to determine which causes are supported, and how support is given.
By forging links with local communities, societies help good causes in their region, but also benefit themselves by forming a relationship with current and potential members and staff. Such mutually beneficial relationships are advocated by recent research in corporate philanthropy.
Increasingly, societies are approaching community investment decisions with a more formal or strategic mindset.
Financial education is an area where many building societies have seen an opportunity to use their expertise to make a real difference to their communities. There may also be the prospect of collaboration between societies to help realise this aim.
A copy of the report can be downloaded below -