Be bullish with corporate partners, charities told

Save the Children's Douglas Rouse told conference delegates to 'aim high and be bold'

Douglas Rouse
Douglas Rouse

Charities should be more demanding with corporate partners, delegates at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland’s Scottish Conference were told yesterday.

Douglas Rouse, corporate partnerships director at Save the Children, told delegates that companies that work with charities could be challenging, so charities should be challenging too.

"Aim high and be bold," he said. "Too many charities are uncomfortable about asking for things. Challenge the status quo."

Rouse urged charities to draw up and sign partnership agreements before entering corporate relationships.

"There are so many cases where charities don’t do this and the charity brand is then splashed across all of the company’s activities," he said.

Rouse said companies should say in advance of cause-related marketing deals how much money they will raise and agree to underwrite 50 per cent of this.

"If they won’t do this, it demonstrates to us that they don’t believe it will work," he said. "If you don’t get it underwritten, that is really, really dangerous."

Rouse said charities should generally receive between 5 and 10 per cent of the sale price of a product on which their logo appeared. "Then the consumer feels like the company is genuine and making a contribution that will make a difference," he said.

He also said charities should be wary of agreeing to employee-fundraising events with corporate partners because they could be "onerous and labour-intensive" unless a proper structure was put in place.

"It’s important to set a fundraising target and make sure the company agrees to it," he said. "And don’t be afraid of asking the company to contribute to costs. Once the target is set, perhaps ask the company to make an initial contribution because this can help to motivate employees to start raising money."

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