Caudwell Children, the national charity for sick children, is offering PR services to small businesses in exchange for donations.
The organisation is writing press releases and marketing material for six small and medium-sized companies, accepting donations in return for the time staff have spent producing the material. No official contracts have been drawn up, partly to avoid the need for the charity to pay tax on the income.
Ben Sutcliffe, PR manager at the charity, suggested the idea when he joined the charity last year after closing his own PR firm. He said the idea was attractive to businesses that wanted to continue giving to charity, but had found they could no longer afford to do so after reviewing their budgets.
"Often, quite wrongly, one of the first things to go during a downturn is the marketing budget," he said. "This is an opportunity for businesses to continue with their marketing, corporate social responsibility policies and charitable giving at the same time."
Sutcliffe, who is solely responsible for the additional work, said the initiative brought in about £1,000 a month for the charity. "It's only a small revenue stream, but it's a bonus," he said.
The money had helped to offset a fall in income from street collections, he added.
The relationships have also led some of the businesses to set up fundraising events to support the charity, Sutcliffe said.