Corporate partnerships: Slimming World link-up nets CRUK a cool £6.5m

The weight-loss organisation's partnership with the cancer charity is still going strong after three years

Slimming World asks members to donate clothes that no longer fit to CRUK
Slimming World asks members to donate clothes that no longer fit to CRUK

The weight-loss organisation Slimming World selected Cancer Research UK to be its charity partner three years ago after deciding to move on from a long-standing relationship with the children's charity NSPCC.

Jo Mather, marketing coordinator at Slimming World and the lead for its charity partnerships, says: "We decided that we wanted to have a bit of a refresh after supporting the NSPCC for many years. We put together a list of charities with which we felt we'd work well, and we put it out to a vote among the consultants who run our local groups. They voted overwhelmingly for CRUK."

Mather says it agreed to work with CRUK for a year at first, and then reassess, but she says the two organisations believed from the start that the partnership could last many years. "It fits so well, particularly with the links between obesity and cancer," she says.

The main activity Slimming World carries out is the annual clothes throw, which asks people who have lost weight to donate clothes that no longer fit them to CRUK charity shops. In the first year, the initiative raised £888,000, but this year it raised £2.1m. Slimming World groups are encouraged to set up their own versions of CRUK's Race for Life to raise money for the charity by taking part in sporting challenges, says Mather. The company also enters a team in the London Marathon, which this year raised £18,000 for CRUK, and asks its members to donate spare change at meetings.

In total, the partnership has raised more than £6.5m for CRUK so far. The clothes throw has also attracted the interest of the media, helping to raise awareness of the partnership and Slimming World's work. Last year, the partnership won a Third Sector Business Charity Award.

Mather says she generally meets the CRUK team once a quarter to discuss the partnership and the two teams will speak on a daily basis when a big initiative such as the annual clothes throw is under way.

The two organisations are also discussing the next phase of their partnership, but Mather says there's currently no intention to stop.

"Everyone is so engaged," she says. "We've nailed the fundraising and it is now a case of how we can move things forward and freshen things up."

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