Cancer Research UK seeks partnerships with small start-up cancer charities

CRUK will invest in cancer charities that reach a niche audience and will choose at least one partner by March

Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK wants to invest in smaller cancer charities that share its vision and goals. 

The charity wants to set up partnerships with small start-up charities that work with an audience CRUK struggles to reach and in under-funded areas of cancer research.

CRUK, which had a total income of £492m in 2011/12, launched the application process for the scheme, called the Invest Programme, at the end of December and plans to choose at least one charity partner by the beginning of March.

Money raised for cancer research by charities arising from any partnerships will fund CRUK projects.

Jacqueline Ashton, head of events and supporter partnerships at CRUK, told Third Sector there was no set amount of money being offered and any financial support would depend on what it was needed for.

"We will be providing advice, consultation and infrastructure support – for example, advice on how to set up financial procedures such as VAT," she said. "We want to give start-up charities our expertise and advice so they have opportunities to grow, and the money will come back through to research into cancer." 

She said the charity would be careful with its investments. "We invest in an initiative only if we feel confident the return from it would be quite significant," she said. "We generally work to a minimum 3:1 return on investment.

"Until we know what the opportunities are, we cannot put a figure on the actual investment."

CRUK has been working with the young people’s cancer charity Trekstock since the latter's official launch in 2010. Trekstock has raised £150,000 through the partnership for CRUK’s research on Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The alliance has allowed CRUK to engage more with young people through Trekstock’s work raising funds and awareness through music, fashion and art collaborations, and organised trekking.

Sophie Epstone, founder of Trekstock, said her charity had benefited from CRUK’s resources and expertise, such as extra volunteers at events and PR advice about fundraising campaigns.

She said the corporate team at CRUK mentioned Trekstock to the menswear chain Burton, which led to a partnership that has helped the stores to raise more than £85,000 in a year.

"We meet a couple of times a month and have quite a lot of contact with the partnerships team at CRUK," said Epstone. "We’ve got a campaign coming up, so we sat down with the PR team and corporate team.

"We are able to say we have their support, which gives quite a lot of credibility to a small, young charity like us."

Applications to take part in the Invest Programme are open until 1 February. CRUK said between 10 and 15 people will be invited in to talk about their charities and ideas about working with together.

Email supporterpartnerships@cancer.og.uk for an application pack.

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