In the environmental sector, this ranks as one of the biggest corporate partnerships ever. The Woodland Trust's Foot of Forest campaign with Ikea, which was launched last month, is committed to raising at least £1.3m over the next four years.
"We have the potential to double that," says Stephen Hartford, corporate fundraiser for the Woodland Trust. The trust is eagerly eyeing the fundraising potential of the one million members of Ikea's family loyalty card scheme, who form an integral part of the partnership.
Each time a member of the scheme visits an Ikea store and swipes his or her membership card at a checkout, 10p will be donated to the trust. This, the trust has calculated, effectively creates a square foot of woodland, hence the name of the campaign.
But these customers will not only donate money. There are plans, as yet under wraps, to get them actively involved in the work of the charity. This aspiration chimes with the Woodland Trust's long-term ambition to broaden the composition of its supporter base. "A few years ago, we decided that we wanted to bring in people from outside those groups that are usually interested in us," says Hartford. "Our membership is mainly middle class and over 50. They are fantastically loyal, but it's the younger urban dwellers with their children that we are trying to target."
Discounted rates for family card members
Ikea and the trust are examining the possibility of introducing a discounted rate for membership of the trust, specifically aimed at Ikea family card members. "We are talking about a million members," says Charlie Browne, corporate environment manager for Ikea UK. "If they get a small percentage of those signing up, then their membership facilitation is huge."
Ikea customers can already visit a website, Ikea Family Forests, to learn about the aims of the campaign and find out more about the Woodland Trust.
For Ikea, the partnership with the trust reflects the fact that half of its products are made from wood or wood fibre. The company approached three woodland charities and asked them to present sales pitches for the campaign. The Woodland Trust was the most impressive candidate. "They understood our business, they'd done a good deal of research on the company, they were professional and they had put together examples of the work that they'd done with other organisations," says Browne.
He says the partnership will "drive footfall and raise market awareness", but has the added bonus of resulting in something tangible - the planting of more woodland. "We are seen to be doing something that's real," he says. "Every time a customer swipes their family card, they are contributing something they can understand, which is a foot of forest."