Four out of five corporate partners expect to increase investment in charities, new research shows

Four out of five companies involved in partnerships with charities expect to increase the amount of resources they put into such arrangements in the medium term, new research indicates. 

Research conducted by the business consultancy C&E Advisory for its annual Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer report, which assesses the state of partnerships between companies and charities and is published today, shows that cross-sector partnerships are likely to become more important for companies and charities over the next three years. 

The research, which is in its 12th year, shows that 80 per cent of corporates and 88 per cent of NGOs polled said they expected to increase or significantly increase their investment in cross-sector partnering in the medium term. 

The figures, which are based on a confidential survey of 130 companies and NGOs, and were supplemented by roundtable discussions with practitioners from both sectors, show a 15 percentage point increase in the proportion of companies that thought they would increase investment in partnerships compared with last year. 

The proportion of NGOs that said the same was also up – by 12 percentage points year on year. 

The research found that 84 per cent of companies said partnering would be more important or much more important to the corporate or NGO agenda over the next three years, with almost all NGOs polled saying the same. 

Eight out of 10 corporates said the Covid-19 pandemic had increased their emphasis on partnering, according to the report, which says this “illustrates the value of cross-sector partnerships and their role in organisational responses to the pandemic”. 

Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E Advisory, said: “Looking to the future, an overwhelming majority of corporate and non-profit partnering practitioners anticipate that the cross-sector partnering agenda will become more, or much more, important – and expect to see their organisations increase, or significantly increase, their investments accordingly.

“Combined with the effective role that we see such partnerships playing in helping to address some of the key social and environmental challenges and opportunities facing society, it is clear that the future remains bright for cross-sector partnering.”

The research also indicated that a higher proportion of corporates than charities made a robust response to the anti-racism movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd in the US last year. 

Researchers found that 76 per cent of corporates said they had made a strong or fairly strong response to anti-racism over the past year, compared with 61 per cent of NGO respondents. 

When asked about the extent to which the issues raised by the anti-racism movement had featured in organisations’ partnerships over the past year, 71 per cent of corporate respondents and 47 per cent of NGO respondents said they had featured strongly or moderately.

Amadi said the reasons behind the gap between the responses from corporates and NGOs were unclear. 

“It might be that the non-profit sector was starting from a higher base in terms of its practices on race diversity and inclusion, so required less additional action,” he said. 

It could have also been that non-profit organisations were less under the spotlight on issues of race inclusion and diversity than companies, or that they lacked appropriate resources to invest in addressing these issues, he said. 

“Whatever the reason, it does seem ironic that the non-profit sector, which is much admired for its mission and values orientation, is faced with such a clear comparative deficit in terms of sectoral responses to the anti-racism challenge over the past year,” he said.

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