Charity and Corporate Partnerships – trends for future success

Collaboration concept in word tag cloud isolated on white background

What happens if you fill a room with people from charities and CSR/Foundation Managers who are trying to maximise their impact?  At our Economic Exchange event last Wednesday we discovered an incredible shared passion for achieving meaningful social impact through well designed collaborations, supported by the latest in affordable digital technology.


For those who missed the event, here are three top tips from the speakers:

  • Track outcomes not just outputs – When developing a corporate and charity partnership, think about developing a shared impact framework and monitoring process so together you can co-ordinate and track outcomes related to financial and human input e.g. benefits to charity and the volunteers, not just measure outputs e.g. no of hours, no of volunteers, £ amount donated.
  • Investing in long term sustainability for the non-profit sector – Think about how to use volunteers’ professional expertise and £ cash donated in a more meaningful and valuable way to help sustain the growth of an organisation for the long term. Corporates are now wanting to help invest in the future success of the charity, not just particulate in a one off intervention.
  • Improve efficiency in monitoring – Put in place good monitoring CRM systems to benefit both parties and improve efficiency and working practices to reduce admin time. Share a system if needed with the charity, and collect data from stakeholders via online forms, online communities and apps. We have implemented Salesforce CRM for many charities managing volunteer input and organisations managing grant applications and business volunteers.

diggingNicola Stopps from Simply Sustainable gained a cheer when she shared her frustration at seeing high calibre professionals from an professional services firm digging in a community garden.   How much more could be achieved by utilising such a rich resource of skills and expertise as ‘skilled volunteers’ for charities across the country? She encouraged charities to think about harnessing the real value of the corporate sector and the wider benefits that could be achieved.

We were inspired to hear about just that from James Harvey who explained how the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and BITC who has placed harnessed the talents of over 300 volunteers mentors across the UK to support social enterprises and charities to grow and develop.  As a corporate they now want to invest in activities to help to sustain the non-profit sector, not just participate in one off activities.

Stephanie Hagan from Business in the Community emphasised that demonstrating outcomes rather than outputs was essential for any charity/corporate partnership who wanted to achieve best practice, as set out by the well established ‘principles of community investment excellence’ laid out by Business in the Community.  A programme with clearly articulated business benefit as well as community benefit, which can have a lasting impact, is what sets apart the high quality initiatives over the long term.

Economic Change shared case studies of how Salesforce CRM has been used to facilitate secure information collection and streamlined data collection to achieve a shared social impact framework between charities, corporates and foundations to gather meaningful impact data.  This has made data capture easy, less time consuming for all stakeholders and enables real-time reporting through bespoke dashboards at the click of a button.  A colleague from a FTSE100 company admitted this would be infinitely preferable to their spreadsheets.

So, we came away with a real sense that collaboration is possible, and indeed enabled, by the wonders of modern technology, and that greater impact can be achieved with a 360 degree view of the full impact of corporate and charity partnerships for all involved.

And you can still go and dig the garden at the weekend.

If you would like assistance to help develop the actions above, then Contact us at Economic Change

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