A is for Alignment
It is widely illustrated by leaders in CR practice that forward thinking and progressive CR aligns the overall approach and strategy to the core values and activity of the business. This ensures a mutual benefit both for the business and the beneficiary.
What does this actually mean?
There is a lesson here for both the instigator of a CR strategy within a company, and the charity looking to secure funding and long term corporate partnerships.
There has been an evolution away from the traditional approach of corporate philanthropy which shied away from perceived benefit for the organisation. It is no longer necessary to be satisfied with a little reflected glory and reputational boost. An expectation of return on investment is not only acceptable, but often required internally and considered to be good practice.
The third sector now, more than ever, needs to make a convincing case to companies to secure partnerships and funding.
It appears that when it comes to charity, businesses are thinking business and charities need to understand how businesses think.
For the business strategy
Alignment of CR strategy makes a great deal of sense for companies. CR activities and programmes which reflect the company culture, brand and operations, should create authentic community engagement which has a benefit to the company and the wider community. In the best cases, CR should become a central driver for a company, informing the way it moves and grows, and offering the best chance of a genuinely responsible business.
When considering specific charity partnerships
The alignment of a potential charity partner with a business is possibly one of the most important elements to inform the decision. The brands need to make sense together, the benefits of the partnership and any projects that come from the relationship should ensure dual benefit for both organisations.
Is it right that a volunteering programme should cost a charity more than the benefit it brings them? Is it a good enough reason that a senior person in the company has a personal connection with a cause?
Good alignment of strategy leads to sustainable programmes, clarity of aims, engagement of stakeholders and essentially success.
Read how CAF’s Advisory and Consultancy team helped BT align its global strategy to local communities in Brazil and India on the CAF website.
Coming soon - B is for….
Andy Grazebrook, Senior Company Relations Manager, CAF