Charities 'fear Brexit will have a negative effect on corporate partnerships'

A survey of NGOs and companies by C&E Advisory finds that companies have a less pessimistic view on the issue

The report
The report

About two-thirds of charities think that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have a negative effect on corporate partnerships, new research indicates.

A survey of NGOs and companies carried out by the consultancy C&E Advisory in the wake of the referendum in June found that almost 60 per cent of the UK-based charities that responded felt the decision would have a negative or very negative effect on corporate partnerships. Seventy-one per cent of the international NGOs polled felt the same.

But companies that took part in the survey were less pessimistic, with about two-thirds of UK-based corporates and three-quarters of international companies saying they expected Brexit to make no difference to the partnering agenda with charities.

The survey was part of wider research carried out annually by the company on the state of corporate partnerships.

C&E said the research, which is in its seventh year, showed a "demonstrable, steady move towards strategically based partnerships" over the past seven years.

"This year’s report points to further recognition of the potential of partnerships to deliver greater shareholder, as well as societal, value – based on the mission and purpose of the organisations involved," said C&E in a statement.

It found a 17 percentage point rise in the proportion of charities that said partnerships harnessing corporate partners’ competencies and assets could have more of an impact on charities’ purposes than solely cash-based relationships.

C&E said there had been a sea change in attitudes from 2012, when more than half of charities said they did not think competency-based partnerships could add such value.

The study showed that 59 per cent of corporate respondents believed their charity partners were helping them change business practices for the better, and 51 per cent of charity respondents said they were confident about the extent to which they were helping companies improve their business practices.

Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E Advisory, said: "Our poll this year was carried out at a momentous time in the UK’s history, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that there is concern about the anticipated impact of the Brexit vote on cross-sector partnerships.

"But the good news is that the charity sector’s fears on the one hand are balanced by a ‘business-as-usual’ sentiment from the corporate side."

Amadi said that beyond the concern about the long-term impact of the referendum decision, the bigger picture on corporate partnerships was encouraging.

"Partnerships between companies and NGOs are becoming increasingly important in delivering positive societal change and in improving business practices," he said.

"This explains why many companies and NGOs expect to invest more in such partnerships over the coming three years."

The research also found that the partnership between the pharmaceutical company GSK and Save the Children was the most admired among corporates and charities.

The partnership between Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support was second and M&S and Oxfam came third, falling off the top spot for the first time.

The report was based on a survey of 118 companies and NGOs carried out in June and early July plus in-depth round-table discussions.

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