Charities should do their homework before they jump into deals with corporates. Although partnerships can generate funding, PR, brand awareness, volunteers and access to resources, bad relationships can actually damage charity brands.
According to the Institute of Fundraising's guidance, the reasons why companies work with charities are rarely philanthropic.
Before a charity commits itself to a partnership with a business, it should ask whether the company has a history of supporting charity; whether previous support was successful; whether the company is financially sound; whether the company's values and ethics complement those of the charity; and what the public perception of the company is.
With their trustees' agreement, charities should develop policies for working with companies. There should also be a clear process for making decisions with companies, including a clear delegation of responsibilities.
Charities should make sure there are no conflicts of interest that could affect the relationship. For example, companies might want access to charity supporters and exclusive partnerships, or they might also be suppliers of the charities they support.
Charities should carry out risk assessments of partnerships. Ways of mitigating risks such as negative publicity and misuse of funds could be addressed by partnership contracts.
There should also be agreements on all areas of potential difficulty, such as use of charity brands, names and logos; ownership of copyright, events, services and products; delineation of who is going to do what and when; and how money is transferred between the parties. Criteria for the success of any partnership should be defined at the start.