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Partners for good

Adeela Warley, CEO CharityComms

Women in PR Panel Debate: Managing Charity and Corporate Partnerships

Charities are the ultimate ‘do-gooders’. Yes, the pejorative term is ripe for reclamation in these increasingly tough times for charities where trust is hard won through consistent demonstration of value for money and positive impact.

The business of doing good is opening up as more private companies add social slants to their market-driven aims and engage charities’ target audiences. Their rapid ability to distil simple, compelling propositions means, as sector, we are ripe for disruption.

NGO-corporate partnerships are not new, but they are without doubt a testing ground for organisational ambition at scale and some charities are adopting brave, innovative strategies and are to be applauded.

Putting their core purpose centre stage and scaling up impact can help charities stand out and bring rewards for their beneficiaries, as I discovered when I chaired a distinguished panel of PR experts with first-hand experience of working on both sides of the fence.

Macmillan Cancer Support’s Media & PR Manager, Michelle Sykes, set out how its work with Lloyds Bank is providing support for people facing both cancer and reduced income.

Jenna Hall, Programme Director of Tesco’s National Charity Partnership describes its 3-year partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Diabetes UK to engage millions of customers in healthy lifestyles.

The NSPCC’s Head of Partnerships, Claire Hoyle, showed how its partnership with Morgan Stanley to set up the ‘Child’s House’ is providing children and their families access all the services they need under one roof.

The challenges of coordinating a broad coalition of NGOs campaigning on the impacts of the EU referendum for their beneficiaries was explained by David Chaplin, Associate Director of Hill & Knowlton Strategies.

Common to these tie-ups is a commitment to social purpose which, in turn, secured significant budget, mobilised thousands of employees and engaged mass public audiences in campaigning, fundraising and behaviour change.

The picture is reflected in C&E’s 2017 Corporate-NGO Benchmark which shows that reputation and credibility remain the reasons for corporates seeking charity partnerships. The main motivation for NGOs is the opportunity to innovate and re-gear purpose and mission with society gaining.

Speakers’ personal tips for success included the need for simplicity, by having an easy to understand proposition and compelling story, and for proper time and resource to measure and evaluate impact, and, in the true spirit of partnership, to prepare and commit to trust and understand each other’s perspectives, and to ensure the collaboration is truly mutual and that no one partner calls the shots.

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