Make-A-Wish Foundation and Comet

The charity and electronics retailer have extended their partnership for a third year

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has gelled so well with Comet that the electrical goods retailer has postponed selecting a new charity partner and extended the partnership into a third year. "The partnership has worked at so many different levels, within the company and within the charity, that it was difficult for them to see how they would find an equally strong charity partner," says Karen England, director of fundraising at the foundation.

It's not hard to see the appeal of the foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, to the firm's 10,000 staff.

But the success of the partnership, which has raised more than £420,000 since its inception in 2006, is as much about the involvement of all parts of the business as the emotive resonance of the cause.

Comet pulls out all the stops if a child makes a wish for a product it sells, such as a laptop computer.

"We fulfil all those wishes through Comet stores, and staff are marvellous," says England. "They decorate their stores; they make the child feel special."

The partnership has concentrated on fundraising because there are no opportunities to volunteer at the foundation. But fundraising efforts have found their way into regular company activities. Staff team-building exercises, such as walking the length of Hadrian's Wall, now double as opportunities to raise money for Make-A-Wish.

Fiona Jennings, general manger of corporate communications at Comet, says: "It has become normal for our business to include something to do with the charity in everything it does."

Jennings believes the success of the partnership could be repeated with a less instinctively appealing cause, provided the purpose of fundraising was well defined and articulated.

"We want to fundraise for something tangible," she says. "With Make-A-Wish, we fundraise for wishes and we know what those wishes are.

"If there is something tangible that people can get behind, then you can replicate it."

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