FUNDRAISING NEWS: Charities reap rewards from company tie-ups

Mathew Little

Charities get back 10 times the amount they invest in charity of the year partnerships with companies, a new report has found.

In one instance, a partnership between The Prince's Trust and PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1998-2000 was worth 35 times the cost of development.

The figures are revealed in Charity of the Year Partnerships: A winning formula?, a report by the charity Business Community Connections, which carried out a cost benefit analysis of 10 charity-business linkups.

Partnerships with Tesco raised £2.2 million for the Alzheimer's Society in 2001 and £3.2 million for Macmillan Cancer Relief in 2000, while the MS Society received £100,000 through a partnership with Budgens in the year 2001-2002, the report says.

Other benefits of relationships included "publicity for the charities and their cause, business staff acting as mentors, challenge events, and an opportunity to develop links with other businesses through the partnership".

But the report says that charities are often chosen for partnership by staff ballots, which can limit the kind of organisations that benefit from them.

"In an unrestricted ballot, staff have a tendency to vote for organisations such as children, cancer and health-related charities with poignant issues," the report says.

But such partnerships can put a charity's reputation at risk if, for example, the business is judged to be unethical. The report cites the example of BAE Systems' decision to select NCH as its charity of the year, which resulted in bad publicity after staff went to the press to complain about the link with an arms manufacturer.

The report is available at www.bcconnections.org.uk.

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