Unicef and British Airways

The partnership has raised £26m since it started in 1994

BA crew at a Unicef project
BA crew at a Unicef project

The partnership between the two global organisations raises money for local projects. One attribute that businesses often look for in charity partners is that they work with beneficiaries in the areas where they themselves have a presence. For British Airways, which flies to about 80 countries, that's a tall order - which might explain why it has had a partnership with Unicef for the past 15 years.

"We work in every country that British Airways currently flies to and could fly to in the future," says Anne Shinkwin, head of corporate partnerships at Unicef UK. Since 1994 the partnership, called Change for Good, has raised £26m and funded projects in 56 countries, ranging from distributing mosquito nets in Nigeria to expanding foster care in Bulgaria.

Passengers are asked to donate to Unicef on every flight BA makes. Four thousand cabin crew members have been trained as Change for Good champions and given pointers about what to say to passengers. Some crew members are taken on trips to see for themselves what their fundraising helps to bring about. "When they make the announcements, they are able to talk first hand about what they've actually seen," says Shinkwin.

For Mary Barry, community investment manager at British Airways, one of the vital ingredients of the partnership is that the money raised on a particular flight always goes to the country to which that aeroplane is headed. "The fact that we make sure our customers know where the money is going is really important," she says.

The partnership raises an average of £1.3m a year and contributes just under a quarter of Unicef UK's total income from corporate partnerships. But to celebrate the partnership's 15th anniversary, the target has been raised to £1.5m. Such ambition in a recession, as passenger numbers dwindle, might seem foolhardy, but for the first five months of 2009 donations were up on previous years.

"The results we've seen to date are actually ahead of where we expected to be, which is phenomenal in the current economic climate," says Shinkwin.

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