About our pro bono work

Through our pro bono work we support organisations working in six areas – the environment, health, local communities, human rights, the arts and education.

Our companies select their own pro bono partners, often reflecting the priorities or interests of their employees. These pro bono projects range from long-term partnerships to small-scale and one-off campaigns.

In some cases, WPP the parent company, plays a role in coordinating multi-company and global pro bono projects. A recent example is our Common Ground project tackling gender equality. Examples of the work by our agencies in support of Common Ground are included on this website.

Companies in all our disciplines undertake pro bono work, including advertising, research and insight, public relations and media buying. This website focuses on work by our advertising and design companies, but also includes a small selection of pro bono research and public relations campaigns.

For more information on our social investment see rapturecity.info/sustainability

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Our agencies support the UNSDGs through their work with NGOs active in areas such as health, education, equality and the environment. On this website we have indicated where our pro bono campaigns align with the UNSDGs.

UNSDGs

Performance in 2017

Our pro bono work was worth £12.7 million in 2017 (2016: £12.5 million). We also made cash donations to charities of £7.7 million, resulting in a social investment worth £20.4 million (2016: £19.5 million). This is equivalent to 0.97% of reported profit before tax. The value of our social investment (pro bono work and charitable donations) increased by 5% on the previous year.

WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £29 million on behalf of pro bono clients (2016: £22.8 million), making a total social contribution of £49.4 million (2016: £42.3 million).

The value of our social investment (pro bono work and charitable donations) increased by 5% on the previous year.

Wider impacts

Pro bono work can be worth more than an equivalent cash donation because it enables charities to raise awareness, increase donations, recruit members, impact behaviour and achieve campaign goals. We have conducted research to quantify this wider impact. This shows that our pro bono work in 2017, created wider social benefits worth £103 million to society. This includes for example, the impact of charities being able to improve health and well-being in communities. The combined impact of pro bono work, charitable donations and free media space is worth an estimated £397 million.

Pro bono contributions
£m

Contributions

WPP companies undertook pro bono work worth £12.7 million in 2017. This is up 1% on 2016.

Charitable contributions
£m

Charitable contributions

The Group and its companies made cash donations to charities worth £7.7 million in 2017, up 10% on 2016.

Free media space
£m

Free media space

WPP media agencies negotiated free media space worth £29 million on behalf of pro bono clients, up 27% on 2016.

Pro bono work by sector
%

Work by sector
  • Arts 6%
  • Education 21%
  • Environment 2%
  • Health 16%
  • Human rights 13%
  • Local community 42%

Charitable donations by sector
%

Charitable donations by sector
  • Arts 3%
  • Education 19%
  • Environment 1%
  • Health 15%
  • Human rights 11%
  • Local community 51%

Total social contribution
£m

Total social contribution
  • Free media space
  • Charitable donations
  • Pro bono

Our total social contribution in 2017 came to £49.4 million, up 17% on 2016.