Charities struggle to find the resources they need, and too often there is a gap between what companies would like to donate and what charities actually need.
“No companies have ever contacted us”, “Companies aren’t interested in our activities” and “We believe company partnerships generate more work for us than benefits”, were typical complaints from charities in a 2018 survey conducted by CSR matchmaking platform whatimpact.
As of January 2021, however, this should be changing – because at the beginning of the year, Social Value Act enhancements came into effect. These make it mandatory for any companies providing services to the public sector to evidence the social impact of each contract.
While these changes creates amazing opportunities for charities, the details and the impact are still not well known in the third sector. Here, we look at how they could benefit your organisation.
Companies need to deliver social impact
The Social Value Act enhancements go by the catchy name of Procurement Policy Note 06/20, which requires all companies bidding for public contracts to demonstrate and evidence the social value delivered through and during the contract.
Having a general corporate and social responsibility programme will no longer be enough: the social impact of each individual contract needs to be measured and evidenced. This should, in theory, increase the support and resources given by companies to charities and social enterprises.
If contractors fail to demonstrate the social value they deliver, they risk losing bids or even contracts already won. For charities, this is great news: more and more companies are looking for charitable partners to support.
Which types of charity work could benefit most?
With the Procurement Policy Note 06/20, the government is focusing on five key focus areas. These include COVID-19 recovery, tackling economical inequalities, fighting climate change, advancing equality of opportunities and improving wellbeing.
Charities whose projects address these issues will have a competitive edge – because thanks to the changes, suddenly more and more companies are looking for partners working in these areas.
Demonstrate and measure your impact
So how can charities, practically speaking, tap into this new pool of opportunities? Here, Tiia Sammallahti, whatimpact CEO and an expert on the sector, shares her key tips:
Link your projects tightly to the policy outcomes that the government is looking for. “When approaching companies, make it clear in your proposition how your project delivers social value on the key points that the government is focusing on,” says Sammallahti. “The spectrum of outcome goals is wide, and could favour a great number of charities.”
Educate companies about the Social Value Act enhancements. “The changes are still very recent, so many corporates are struggling to understand the implications of the change, too,” she continues. “Helping them understand the situation, and how your project is linked with social value delivery, makes it easy for them to decide to support you.”
Set impact goals and share results of your previous activities. “Companies are naturally very interested in knowing what kind of impact they could make with you, and what kind of impact you’ve delivered previously,” notes Sammallahti. “Communicate your impact goals clearly, and evidence the difference you’ve already made – for example, via our platform whatimpact.com, which makes impact reporting easy.”
For more insights on this topic, download whatimpact’s recent white paper Enabling Impact Creation: Rethinking private and third sector interaction.