Charities now see corporate partnerships as good for stability, says report

This year's C&E Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer says all the charities go into partnerships for financial support, but 79 per cent say they also do so for long-term security

The report
The report

Charities are increasingly looking to corporate partnerships to provide long-term stability and create impact, according to an annual survey of charities and companies.

The C&E Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer 2019, published today by the business consultancy C&E Advisory, says that whereas all the charities questioned entered into corporate partnerships to access financial support, 79 per cent said they also believed being involved in a partnership was good for long-term stability, a figure 19 percentage points up on last year’s survey.

The survey of 101 UK-based companies and NGOs engaged in corporate-NGO partnerships also found that 83 per cent of charities said they expected their organisation to increase or significantly increase their investment in cross-sector partnerships over the next three years.

And 81 per cent of charities agreed that harnessing corporate partners’ skills and assets would allow them to make more of an impact in delivering their missions than cash-based relationships would, an increase of 25 percentage points on last year.

For businesses, 91 per cent said they had embarked on corporate partnerships to enhance their reputation and credibility, but an increasing number said they wanted to access knowledge (71 per cent, up by 17 percentage points on the previous year) or new markets (56 per cent, up by 18 percentage points).

The report concludes that partnerships between leading companies and NGOs are becoming deeper, longer-term and more sophisticated, and are proving more effective in addressing the big challenges facing society.

Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E Advisory, said: "The trend towards more strategic partnering between companies and NGOs is gathering pace, and this is highly encouraging. Deploying business assets to address the core missions of their NGO partners is likely to be a more effective way to secure the goals of non-profit organisations, so it is pleasing to see this view increasingly acknowledged by NGOs.

"In turn, partnering with NGOs improves corporate understanding of the context in which business is done and enables companies to be sensitive to the issues that relate to their business. This means businesses can make better decisions and better manage their impacts on society."

More than two-thirds of charities said they believed partnerships were changing their corporate partners’ business practices for the better, and 64 per cent of businesses agreed.

The most admired partnership of the year was that between the high street chemist Boots and Macmillan Cancer Support, in which Boots pharmacy staff have been trained to offer support and advice on taking cancer medication, while beauty advisers are trained to help people deal with the visible side-effects.

The partnership between the pharmaceutical giant GSK and Save the Children, which has held the top position for the past three years, dropped to second.

This year’s edition of the barometer marks its 10th anniversary. When asked what they predicted for the next 10 years, respondents said they believed multi-partner arrangements would become the norm and impact measurement of partnerships would improve.

But many charity respondents warned that in the future companies might seek to "go-it-alone", attempting to tackle social and environmental issues on their own without the need to partner with NGOs.

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