The platform, built by social impact startup Beam, builds on two growing trends: people giving less to charity due to the cost of living squeeze, and growing pressure on companies to evidence their socially-minded credentials.
Beam, whose CEO has presented the company to the Prime Minister, aims to alleviate the UK’s growing homelessness epidemic. According to the most recent government data, over 38,810 households, including 131,370 children are homeless in England alone.
How it works for companies and employees
The platform lets businesses scale up their financial backing for homeless and other disadvantaged people in the UK, using a slider to allocate a £50 donation to each person they want to support.
An algorithm automatically allocates each £50 donation to the live campaigns that are slowest funding on the platform, ensuring donations are equitably distributed among people using Beam.
Companies funding disadvantaged people see real-time metrics on the people they sponsor getting jobs and being housed online, and their individual stories.
Each month, employees are notified about the people their company has backed and can send messages of support to the homeless and other disadvantaged people using the platform.
Beam ensures that beneficiaries have a working smartphone, to speak to their Beam caseworker and read the messages that employees send them.
Giving trends for people and companies
2023 research from the Charities Aid Foundation shows charity giving in the UK remains down from pre-pandemic levels. Last year, a quarter of people reported they had cut, or were considering cutting, their charity giving.
This pattern has been reflected on Beam: donations by individuals to Beam’s crowdfunding campaigns have fallen by 25% in 2023, due to the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, company giving has over doubled in 2023, with the number of businesses contributing increasing by almost 80% since the start of the year.
The Permira Foundation has recently been among the notable organisations signing up to the platform, sponsoring individuals like Lucian. Lucian raised £1,800, allowing him to train as a construction site supervisor after he lost his job in the industry following a serious back injury.
Harika Sihota, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Permira Foundation, said: “Our mission at the Permira Foundation is to make a positive contribution to our local communities. We’re delighted to be working with Beam to tackle a critical problem in the UK. The Beam for Companies profile has made it easy for our team to see which individuals are benefitting from our donation, and the tangible impact it is making on their lives.”
Homewares brand Mustard Made, named by The Sunday Times as one of the UK’s 100 fastest-growing private companies, has donated over £160,000, helping over 750 people to find jobs and housing more than 600 people.
Jessica Stern, Co-founder, Mustard Made, commented: “Working with Beam creates a strong sense of purpose for our team. The Beam for Companies platform allows us to track our growing social impact in a simple way. Our team is able to engage personally to motivate people – to date, they have sent out more than 200 messages of encouragement.”
Alex Stephany, Founder & CEO, Beam, said: “I saw first hand running my previous company how hard it can be for businesses and busy employees to make a measurable difference month in, month out. So we decided to take out all the friction: companies can sign up in under 10 minutes. Employees can set aside a similar amount of time each month to send messages that lift the spirits of disadvantaged people at a critical point in their lives.”