We recently blogged about our Charity Partnerships event held in early October which focused on how the nature of partnerships has been changing. At the event we set out some key principles that we think companies looking to build successful partnerships should look to emulate, these are:
1) investor rather than funder
2) reorientate the relationship
3) relationships with multiple charities
4) improved accountability
5) combined ownership
6) focus on outcomes
These principles are focused on transforming the charity business relationships, to ensure they are sustainable and create maximum impact on all stakeholders. I intend to come back to the key principles in more detail in a future blog post.
Following our event it was then good to hear that John Williams, a board member at BiTC, had presented a similar case at the Charity Finance Leadership Forum.
More and more companies are now seeing the business benefits of corporate responsibility and instead of giving cash away because it is “the nice thing to do”, they are looking to create mutual benefit for both the company and their charity partners. That could be through a traditional cause related marketing initiative, or a more sustainable relationship through the delivery of services, as discussed by Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer at the event, and reported on in the article.
Companies should be actively looking to change the relationship between themselves and charities, and should be supporting charities to move forward in this approach. Lots of charities have become used to being financed through grants and general fundraising. This has allowed them to continue with traditional service delivery but without any long term security. Many charities are now facing reduced income, particularly from Government, and therefore require a new approach.
Businesses can help charities redevelop their approach by supporting them through skill sharing, skilled volunteering and by changing internal business perceptions of charities. Businesses supporting charities in this approach will help charities become self sustainable and have a much wider impact on their social aim than they have had before.
This movement towards an enlightened self interest approach to business is gaining pace.