Business partner: Morrisons and ChildLine/Help the Aged

The charities submitted a joint bid for a partnership with the supermarket chain.

Bidding to win a high-profile business partnership can be a dispiriting experience. For every charity that is adopted, dozens are disappointed. When it came to supermarket chain Morrisons, both ChildLine and Help the Aged were getting fed up with failure. They had applied on several occasions but didn't even to get to the pitch stage. So they decided on a radical new approach.

Help the Aged's new business team came up with the idea. It saw an affinity with ChildLine, despite the fact that the two charities work for beneficiaries at opposite ends of the age spectrum. It felt that what they actually did - working to protect vulnerable people from abuse - was quite similar. ChildLine immediately saw the link, so a joint bid was submitted.

Morrisons was easily swayed. A charity partnership that resonated across the demographic groups the company was trying to attract into its stores had strong appeal. Help the Aged and ChildLine were shortlisted and romped home in the staff vote.

But a joint partnership does require more planning than conventional solo ventures. Tom Sessions, account manager for Help the Aged, deals with Morrisons on a day-to-day basis. But he also meets Jodie Rees, a senior fundraiser at ChildLine, once a week.

"It's been great," says Sessions. "I spend a bit of time at ChildLine each week, then Jodie comes over to me the next week. Once you get your head around the idea, it's easy to get on with things. It's quite open. I view her as a colleague."

The collaboration means there are more resources, both physical and imaginative, to call on. The two charities play to each other's strengths, taking advantage of established fixtures in their respective fundraising calendars. For example, the NSPCC's Big Bike Ride and Help the Aged's Big Spring Walk have been roped in to support the partnership.

But both partners have also put their heads together to come up with bespoke events that are more accessible for Morrisons staff and customers. Stop for Tea events in stores around the country raised £50,000 in one week. Overall, the partnership has raised £400,000 since its launch in March. The money raised goes to support ChildLine's helpline service and to train staff on Help the Aged's SeniorLine to deal with calls from elderly people who are experiencing abuse.

There is also an educational element. A ChildLine Halloween guide on safe trick-or-treating for children has been expanded to include advice for older people faced with hordes of children knocking on their doors.

Rees says the partnership has been a "wholeheartedly positive experience so far". Of course, the two charities have to make do with half of what they would have received if they'd won the bid alone, but, as Rees says: "£750,000 is better than nothing."

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