Business partner: Bliss and Candis

The premature baby charity has an unusual relationship with the magazine.

The oxygen of publicity is vital to most charities, but it usually comes at a price. Thanks to a unique partnership, however, premature baby charity Bliss not only benefits from a free and regular double-page spread in mass-market women's monthly Candis, but it also receives an annual donation from the magazine's publisher, Newhall Publications.

That enviable situation is the result of a 16-year relationship with Newhall, one of whose founding objectives was to create revenue for the charitable sector.

Candis sells 301,000 copies a month, placing it on a par with more well-known titles such as Prima and Marie Claire. But it is not a news-stand magazine. Instead, the magazine is one benefit of membership of the Candis Club, which also offers insurance deals, money advice and discounted electrical goods.

Newhall, a family-owned firm, was founded with the intention of gifting a proportion of its profits to medical research. That remit has widened to include health-related charities. Bliss is now one of five charities to benefit from the diversion of 10 per cent of Candis's subscription income to good causes.

Bliss and fellow premature baby charity Tommy's share 16 per cent of that money, Marie Curie Cancer Care gets 42 per cent and the British Heart Foundation 30 per cent.

Since the partnership with Candis began in 1991, Bliss has received £3m. "We are a medium-sized charity, that is a huge amount of money and it has come on a regular basis," says Andy Cole, chief executive of Bliss.

"In terms of the editorial, the reach is very important to us, too. We want to make sure that people are aware of the issue of premature birth. It's incredibly positive for us to talk about these things on a regular basis."

For Bob Hyatt, chairman of the Candis Club, Bliss helps to contribute to a good mix of charities to receive the club's annual donation of roughly £800,000. "Bliss counterbalances the large national charities very well and it chimes with what Candis is trying to do," he says. "It is also a very tactile charity: it is easy to understand."

The partnership has been modified by the recruitment of Tommy's to a new Candis Club initiative called Family Start, which aims to help would-be parents through pregnancy and birth. The two charities will share £145,000 from Candis this year.

Although the participation of Tommy's will reduce the financial benefit Bliss receives, Cole believes that Candis is still the charity's most valuable corporate partner. "It's not like working with other corporate partners," he says. "The core of what it is there to do is to support charities. For a business, that is fantastic and, unfortunately, all too unusual.

"We have other corporate partnerships, some of which, on an annual basis, are larger than that with Candis. But over the lifetime of the charity they are not even close in terms of their value to us."

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