Companies are increasingly entering into partnerships with charities because they are looking for new ways to address complex challenges, according to new research.
The Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer 2013, published today by the consultancy C&E Advisory, shows innovation is now the second most-cited reason for businesses to partner with charities, up from fifth place last year.
The research is based on 120 responses to an online survey in July. Fifty-five respondents were from companies and 61 from charities, with the remainder made up of corporate foundations and international non-profit agencies.
Two-thirds of the businesses surveyed said innovation was the reason their organisation engaged in corporate partnerships, up 20 percentage points on the previous year’s survey.
But the proportion of charities that said innovation was a reason for partnering with companies was down 23 percentage points on last year’s findings to 52 per cent.
Reputation and credibility was the most popular reason for setting up corporate partnerships among companies, with 91 per cent of them saying this was the reason for engaging with charities.
All the charities surveyed said that access to funds was a reason for entering into corporate partnerships, while 83 per cent said it was because of access to people and contacts.
Sixty-three per cent of companies said they went into partnership with charities to gain access to knowledge, compared with 44 per cent of charities.
Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E, said: "This striking increase in the scores for innovation as a reason for business engagement in partnership with NGOs is evidence of the maturity of the partnering agenda. We’re now seeing a clear move towards effective and business-based collaborations in support of the increasingly recognised concepts of purpose-led growth and shared value.
"The divergence of emphasis on innovation between businesses and NGOs may have implications for the future development and execution of partnerships between the sectors. There appears to be a clear opportunity for NGOs to respond to their evident business appetite for the types of mission-focused collaborations that meet commercial as well as social and/or environmental needs."