There is a new wave of corporate partnerships in which charities sell their expertise to companies, delegates were told at last week's Institute of Fundraising Scotland conference.
Kim van Niekerk, co-founder of Quanta Corporate Citizenship, an organisation that advises businesses on corporate social responsibility, said issues such as the recession and the population explosion had forced companies to reconsider their attitudes to charity partnerships.
Van Niekerk said the focus had started to move away from how much money companies were donating to how they could work with charities to address wider concerns about the effect their core business was having on society and the environment.
Fundraisers, she said, could benefit from this new approach by thinking about what expertise their charities could sell to help them achieve this.
"We are starting to see a trend of a longer-term focus," said van Niekerk. "Companies now feel that, in the years ahead, consumers will tend to stick with those businesses that are doing the right things."
She said charities could tap into this new trend by thinking about how they could help companies improve. "It's about selling your intellectual capital," she said. "But don't give your help away for free."
Van Niekerk advised delegates to find the market rate for consultancy. One of the examples she gave was the partnership between Sky and the environmental charity Global Action Plan, in which the charity was brought in to educate Sky's stakeholders about environmental issues.
"It's a win-win situation for companies," Van Niekerk said. "They get the services they need and they are seen to be donating the money to a charity."