Many reasons have been identified for companies and charities seeking each other out: burnishing the brand, differentiating themselves from the competition or even the personal interests of senior managers. But there is another, less discussed factor: luck.
It was chance that brought together the customer strategy company Beyond Analysis and the Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK. The company was carrying out research for the fundraising website Just Giving and interviewed the trust's director, Rachael Bloom. "It was happenstance, really," says Paul Alexander, chief executive of Beyond Analysis. "A couple of people in our office did that piece of research and they came back absolutely enthusing about Rett."
For the charity, this lucky break was a blessing. Rett is a rare neurological condition that affects very young girls and can leave them in wheelchairs. The trust is relatively new, formed in 2010, and has struggled to register interest among people who do not have a direct personal connection with the condition.
"Beyond Analysis has motivated us tremendously by showing that our cause can connect with people who don't have this direct experience of the condition," says Bloom.
Beyond Analysis will take part in events to raise money, but Bloom says their main contribution will be to help the charity hone its message for the mainstream. In 2007, Rett syndrome was reversed in laboratory experiments. Now funding is urgently needed to develop treatments.
"We have to double our income this year," says Bloom. "So we need as much business support as possible."