The research suggests future partnerships with public sector bodies such as hospitals or local councils and other associations such as trade unions could be as successful as traditional affiliations with commercial organisations.
"Much of the money brought in by corporate partnerships is a result of employee and customer fund-raising activities and payroll giving rather than corporate donations," said Joe Saxton, co-founder of think tank nfpSynergy, which conducted the research.
"Companies take part in partnerships with the voluntary sector because it is good for employee morale and customer relations - principles that are increasingly valued by the public sector."
Saxton suggests public bodies such as benefits agencies could adopt a charity in the same way a company might, but that instead of giving money they could give time and encourage staff and clients to raise money for the cause.
"Fundraisers need to stop seeing their job as raising money from companies, and start thinking of it as fundraising through companies and engaging individuals in their workplaces," said Saxton.
The research also suggests cause-related marketing isn't working because most people don't remember specific tie-ups and as a result, don't buy the products.
However, new figures published by Business in the Community this week suggest traditional corporate partnerships are far from dead.
The charity's Cause-Related Marketing Tracker shows that the amount raised through corporate partnerships has almost doubled in the past year to £50.4m.