Third sector conference: Corporate Partnerships - Learn to get more from corporate partnerships

The credit crunch means less money, fewer resources and more uncertainty, and has reshaped the relationship between the corporate and charity sectors - so it's vital for charities to make the most of their partnerships, writes Amy Miller.

Anita Longley, head of CSR at energy supplier RWE npower, says that although the financial climate has raised questions about the synergy between business and partner organisations, "corporate partnerships can add real value to addressing social and environmental issues". But David McCullough, trading director at Oxfam, warns that engagement between charities and their corporate partners will have to shift in the light of today's climate: "Allocating funds to corporate social responsibility and 'doing the right thing' is comparatively easy when times are good and the bonuses are getting paid, but not so easy when the shareholders and the board are asking if this stuff isn't just a distraction."

It is clear that corporate relationships will have to change. Marie-Claire Berreen, community relations manager at Barclays, says it is time to "move away from simply writing cheques" and instead aim towards "truly investing and impacting on the community". Berreen believes that volunteering is one way of promoting more strategic partnerships, asserting that "encouraging volunteers teaches staff about the needs of their own community".

However, volunteering raises its own questions. Charities have raised doubts as to whether volunteering programmes are always mutually beneficial. Richard Skinner, business development manager at Shelter, suggests that a more strategic approach to volunteering is needed, calling for "a plan that is not only measurable and integrated with sensible key performance indicators attached to it, but also one that is properly financed, recognises the cost to the charity of managing volunteering programmes properly and acknowledges the business benefits for the corporate partner".

Third Sector's Corporate Partnerships conference welcomes 15 corporates and 11 charities to reveal how to create sustainable relationships that provide value for both parties in the long term. Hear how you can ensure your volunteering programme is mutually beneficial, how corporates select their charity partners and how you can make the best of your corporate partnerships, regardless of your size.

- Amy Miller is the organiser of Corporate Partnerships:


McCullough joined Oxfam in June 2006 as trading director and is responsible for 750 shops and 21,000 volunteers. He is also deputy chief executive of Oxfam GB.

At this year's conference, McCullough will join Mike Barry, head of CSR at Marks & Spencer, to showcase the current partnership between the charity and the retailer. McCullough and Barry will highlight the importance of setting out clear objectives from the outset to create lasting and sustainable partnerships where both partners' agendas and goals are being met.


Aldous leads a team of 14 fundraisers who generate income from corporate partnerships and UK and overseas-based challenge events. She also leads a fundraising creativity programme, which aims to champion creativity in the disability charity's fundraising and engagement strategy.

Aldous will be joined by Beth Courtier, head of charity programmes at BT. Their session will question the 'splash-and-dash' approach to corporate partnerships, looking instead at how to move forward and build more complex relationships with partners.


Wilmshurst took up this job after five years as director of Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the UK Anti-Apartheid Movement. He develops relationships with key organisations, with a specific focus on Coca-Cola's role in development and sustainability.

Wilmshurst will be joining RWE npower and Alliance Boots for the afternoon's live pitch. In this interactive session, representatives of three charities will be welcomed to the stage to pitch to the corporate panel. Before the corporates announce their decision, there will also be an opportunity for the audience to vote for their preferred pitch.


Since December 2007, Precey has been focusing Legal & General's CSR strategy on reducing environmental, social and economic impact and increasing community involvement through the company's 9,000 UK employees. He is also chair of the trustees of charity Sail 4 Cancer.

Precey believes that "corporates need to bring third sector partnerships right into their core business to help shape and challenge their future products and markets".

Legal & General will join a panel of corporates, including representatives from Somerfield, Cadbury and EDF Energy, to deliver insights into the corporate decision-making process.


Date And Venue: 20 November, The Thistle Marble Arch, London W1

Registration: Book your place now at

Sponsorship: For an informal chat about how you could promote your services at this event, please contact Amy Miller on 0208 267 4555 or email


- Long-term partnerships

Ensure clarity from the outset to create a mutually beneficial partnership

- Volunteering

Manage a strategic and integrated volunteering programme that works for both parties

- Credit crunch

Question the possible repercussions for your CSR and assess the next stage of your corporate partnership strategy


- Nationwide, Maxine Taylor, divisional director for corporate affairs
- Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry, head of CSR
- Somerfield, Pete Williams, head of PR, press and charity
- Cadbury, Alison Ward, head of CSR
- BT, Beth Courtier, head of charity programmes
- Microsoft, Karina Gibson, consultant citizenship manager
- IBM UK, Mark Wakefield, corporate citizenship and corporate affairs
- Barclays, Marie-Claire Berreen, community relations manager
- Procter & Gamble, Jon Plant, assistant brand manager
- RWE npower, Anita Longley, head of CSR
- Guardian News & Media, Jo Confino, head of sustainable development and
executive editor, The Guardian


- The Prostate Cancer Charity, Denise Bailey, corporate partnerships
- Whizz-Kidz, Laurie Boult, head of partnerships
- The Woodland Trust, Clare Allen, head of corporate partnerships
- Scope, Jane Aldous, head of partnerships
- Action for Children, Jan Blackburn, volunteer development manager
- The Rainbow Trust, Nicola O'Donnell, corporate partnerships manager
- Manchester United Foundation, John Shiels, chief executive
- Macmillan Cancer Support, Eve Bazeley, account management leader
- Unicef UK, Mayaz Rahman, corporate relations manager
- YouthNet, Sam Thomas, corporate development manager

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