Report reveals benefits of corporate partnerships with charities

Some charities take a 'one-dimensional' approach by concentrating only on access to funds, says social responsibility firm C&E

Ninety-two per cent of companies say reputation and credibility are the most important benefits of setting up partnerships with charities, according to a new report. 

The Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer 2011, published by corporate social responsibility firm C&E, also shows that 95 per cent of charities said access to funds was their main benefit from such partnerships.

The report is based on a survey in June and July of 156 organisations, of which 78 were companies, 75 were charities and three were corporate foundations.

It says 71 per cent of the businesses agreed non-cash assets could have a bigger impact for charities than financial support, but only 38 per cent of charity respondents thought so.

"Many NGOs appear to be one-dimensional in their aims for partnership, and their ‘drive for cash’ makes it likely that they are missing a trick by failing to prioritise the potential cost-reduction benefits that can result from partnerships," it says.

The report also says 83 per cent of corporate respondents agreed with the statement: "We actively promote employee volunteering and find that our NGO partners are enthusiastic about engaging our employees [as volunteers]."

However, it says only 46 per cent of charity respondents agreed with the statement: "We are as keen as our corporate partners to involve their employees as volunteers in our work."

The report says: "The gap in sentiment is striking and indicates a high level of dissonance between companies and NGOs about the value of employee volunteering.

"Frustrations arise when high-calibre volunteers appear more enthusiastic about engaging in ‘low impact’ tasks than in focusing on putting their valuable skills to the best possible use for the charity partner. Walls can only be painted so many times."

It also says the partnership between Oxfam and Marks & Spencer was voted the most admired corporate-charity partnership for the second year running. As part of the partnership, anyone donating an item of M&S clothing to Oxfam received a money-off voucher for use at M&S stores.

The report also says 67 per cent of companies and 62 per cent of charities said their investment of time and resources in corporate-NGO partnerships was likely to increase over the next three years. A further 28 per cent of charities and a further 3 per cent of companies said this would increase significantly.

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