A new era of charity corporate partnerships: 5+1 tips to make it work

This is an article by a guest contributor - Alice Troiano is the CEO and co-founder of G.APP17, a new platform that will help businesses and charities partner up and generate impact through the Sustainable Development Goals. Together with her two co-founders Serena Cellini and Mattia Troiano she’s on a mission to help businesses become a force for good for people and the planet.

In shifting times – as we are indeed witnessing these days – one thing lies at the core of our everyday life: partnerships. It’s in our nature to support each other, value community and drive change together. And when talking about businesses, they can really be leaders in this. Let’s have a look at what we think is the future of charity-corporate partnerships and how these can (and should) be built strategically.

So here it goes... 5 (+1) tips for a new era of charity-corporate partnerships.

#1 Find the right partner

For how long have you been donating to your local charity? Most of us have done it forever, but did you know there’s a way to make sure that your charity donations also bring value to your company?

That’s right. Both your business and your charity partner have specific values, the trick is understanding them in advance. When choosing a charity, you can make sure their vision, mission and goals are strategically aligned with yours. This will allow you both to value your respective priorities and tell a real story together.

21st century charity-corporate partnerships should really be thought to generate shared value.

#2 Make it collaborative

With this in mind, it's crucial to acknowledge the importance of collaboration. So, involve your people, talk with your charity partner about what matters to you and your company, find ways to build something that is mutually beneficial. The goal should be to find a balance between what’s important to the company and your employees and what your charity partner can achieve.

But don’t forget: you need to really believe in the power of collaboration.

It doesn’t have to be a one-way relationship. Collaboration is possible. Businesses are not just ‘money-pots’ for charities: you can still bring in your own ideas and co-create each project together. This only requires a mutual effort of meeting half-way.

#3 Measure your impact

…don’t get me wrong now, every donation is helpful. But what is the real value if we don’t know how our support is making a difference?

We all want to be able to know whether we actually succeeded. Every business would like to see its fragmented charity efforts both locally and globally consolidated into tangible impact data.

First things first, tough. Have you and your charity partner defined your objectives? Have you set measurable targets on your priorities as well as precise KPIs on what this partnership should achieve? Only when this is done can we talk about measuring impact.

If there’s a strategy in place, then your impact can be monitored and shown both within the organisation and to the broader public.

Feel free to learn more about how you can do this with G.APP17.

#4 Communicate the good you are doing

And your customers need indeed to know about the great work you are doing in society.

I see many businesses simply stating in a small hidden page on their website that they have made donations to local charities, or that their employees have been volunteering somewhere. Well that’s great, hats off to that! But why are you hiding it?

The world should know about how great you are and the incredible work you are doing with your charity partner! So tell them.

As revealed by a Greg Secker Foundation’s research, businesses who donate a small percentage of profit to charity (up to 5%) see their image improved among consumers. As their findings point out, if people knew your business gave just 5% of its annual profits to a non-profit organisation:

  • 43% would have a more positive opinion of the company;

  • 20% would use this company over competitors;

  • 17% would recommend the company to friends/family.

So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re driving small scale change or making a global difference alongside your charity partner(s), show it off!

#5 Align your charity partnerships with the Sustainable Development Goals

Since the declaration of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN have been working to raise awareness about the importance of cross-sector partnerships. A particular focus has been set on how the business sector can partner with non-profit organisations to bring about sustainable long-term change.

Whether you aim to make an impact within your local community, or you generally focus your efforts to be part of a more global change, the SDGs are the most appropriate framework of reference.

Many times I’ve heard from CSR Managers of UK companies “We don’t have international operations, so we don’t use the SDGs”. But did you know that actually the SDGs have become one of the main tools to assess companies’ CSR strategies? Being national, international or local. The 2030 agenda is for all, and I cannot stress this enough!

People in the street walk around and see the SDGs everywhere. They are starting to recognise them, and they expect your business to use them too. Recently, BNP Paribas covered Marylebone Station floor in London with SDG icons aligned to their work. Why?

Because people know and care about them, and these people could be your customers - so what are you doing to tell them that you are also part of a global movement for change?

And #6…

OK, I might be biased. But if you agree with the points above, if this is what you are looking for in your charity-corporate partnerships, then you should get hands on with innovation and join us to test G.APP17. Also, it's completely free if you join now - so why not?

G.APP17 is a partnership platform that will help you:

  • Find the right partner

  • Develop collaborative partnerships

  • Measure your impact and align your partnerships to the SDGs.

So that you can finally generate shared value for your company and the communities you support. Whether you are a business or a non-profit organisation, check out our brand new website or e-meet us on our blog.

If you’re here to make a difference, let’s talk.

Alice Troiano