Business partner: Ve Interactive and Concern Universal

The web technology company joins forces with the international development charity

Ghana: A Concern Universal project
Ghana: A Concern Universal project

In an age when charities are urged to be businesslike, this partnership is a reminder that being so can actually be counterproductive.

David Brown, co-founder of the web technology company Ve Interactive, says: "The more a charity feels like a business, the less appealing it is. Concern Universal has never invited us to a lavish dinner or sent us a gift."

Concern Universal is one of the UK's lesser-known international development charities. Only 26 of its 500 staff are based in the UK, at its head office in Hereford. Its marketing and communications manager Debbie Stenner says the charity suffers as a result of low brand awareness.

Ve Interactive aims to remedy this. The company is helping with "content marketing", advising on how the charity's website can illustrate stories from its projects. It has set up an affiliate marketing programme and installed software to capture those who don't complete the online donation process.

Ve Interactive has also opened its offices in Soho, London, for Concern Universal to host meetings, and Brown estimates that the in-kind support the company offers is worth more than £300,000 a year.

For many organisations, a charity partnership is an "add-on" to their business, says Brown: "For us, it's part of our ethos to share our commercial strength and knowledge."

The partnership, which began in July, will last for between three and five years. "We have no reservations," Brown says. "There is no technology that we give to a customer that we wouldn't give to Concern Universal."

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