FAQs

If you have queries about the application process or any other aspect of the CommunityMark, please first try the list of frequently asked questions below.

Questions covered.

Who can apply for the CommunityMark?

Any UK business, however big or small, can apply for the CommunityMark with the exception of public sector organisations, social enterprises, not for profit organisations, universities, colleges and Registered Social Landlords.

Please visit the Application Process page to see up-to-date costs for applying for the CommunityMark. 

The fee covers:

  • Up to eight hours of support from a personal adviser - allocated once a submission date has been agreed

  • Invitation to attend a CommunityMark surgery leading up to your application

  • Guidance notes throughout the CommunityMark application process

  • A detailed assessment process and feedback report highlighting strengths and weaknesses

  • A feedback meeting to review key strengths and development points

  • An 18-24-month review meeting to review progress and ensure continuing improvement.

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Many companies use Business in the Community's well-established CR Index as a management tool to develop their corporate responsibility strategies and integrate these throughout their organisation.

The CR Index also provides a benchmark for companies to evaluate their management practices against other companies within and outside of their sector.  This benchmark includes four key areas of corporate responsibility and performance in a range of environmental and social impact areas material to the business.

For large companies, Part A of the CommunityMark survey comprises 20 questions from the CR Index that assess how a company develops, integrates and manages community investment.

Therefore, if you have taken part in the CR Index in your year of entry to the CommunityMark, your answers to the CommunityMark survey Part A can be automatically copied across from your CR Index submission.

Please note: This applies to companies taking part in the CR Index both publicly and privately (shadow benchmarking). Companies are not required to publicly benchmark. Companies achieving gold or platinum in the CR Index are encouraged to apply for the CommunityMark.

Part B of the CommunityMark survey is completely separate from the CR Index process.  It focuses on measurement and evaluation of key community projects and the difference that they have made to the community and the business, referee feedback from employees and community partners, and identification of commitments for the next three years. 

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The CommunityMark is aligned to the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) model, and asks companies to demonstrate how they quantitatively and qualitatively measure their community investment.

The LBG (London Benchmarking Group) is a group of more than 120 companies that use a common model to measure their investment in the communities in which they operate. The model provides a consistent approach to assessing contributions and evaluating what this achieves, both for the causes they support and for the company. More information is available on www.lbg-online.net.

The questions on measurement in the CommunityMark survey have been developed in consultation with LBG. This means that LBG members who complete the CommunityMark survey can use the annual returns data they submit to LBG as evidence to support their CommunityMark application.

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Companies that do not achieve the CommunityMark will receive the following:

  • Full and detailed feedback highlighting areas of strength and areas for development

  • A 50% discount on the CommunityMark if they reapply within six months

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Support is available to companies based outside of London who are interested in applying for the CommunityMark.

Please visit the Where we work page for details of Business in the Community’s UK-wide regional offices or contact the London-based CommunityMark team for support.

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The old CommunityMark was similar to the new CommunityMark, but was only open to small companies.

It was awarded for a three year period. The cross-sectoral consultation group that developed the new CommunityMark took into consideration many of the lessons from the old CommunityMark and built on these to develop the new standard.

Companies who achieved the CommunityMark prior to 2007 are encouraged to reapply for the new CommunityMark. Companies who achieved the old CommunityMark in 2007 were able to hold the mark until 2011, and were offered the opportunity to convert to the new CommunityMark at a discounted price.

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Before the CommunityMark, companies used the Percent Standard to profile the financial investment they made in the community.

Businesses were asked to commit annually to reporting their community investment and to strive to achieve the aspirational one per cent donation of pre-tax profits to the community.

For 20 years the Percent Standard was at the forefront of measuring and celebrating corporate community investment. Over that time companies became more sophisticated and challenged Business in the Community to develop a new standard to recognise their more holistic approach to corporate community investment.

The CommunityMark was developed in 2007 in response to this, and 2006 was the final year that the Percent Standard existed as a standalone activity.

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Please email us at communitymark@bitc.org.uk, and we will do our best to help you.

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