Charities that want successful corporate partnerships should demonstrate shared values and study companies’ social responsibility strategies, a panel of leading decision-makers from the corporate world has told the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands.
The panel included representatives from Proctor & Gamble, the global consumer goods company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accountancy giant, Skype, the Luxembourg-based internet-communications company, which was bought by Microsoft for £5.3bn in 2011, and the Ikea Foundation, the grant-making division of the international furniture retailer.
Ronald van de Straat, director of external relations at P&G, gave an insight into his company’s approach to its partnership with Unicef for the company’s nappy brand Pampers 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign.
The partnership started in 2004 in Belgium. It went global in 2008 and has paid for more than 200 million vaccines to protect about 100 million mothers and babies.
Unicef is on track to achieve its aim of wiping out tetanus by 2015.
"It is not just philanthropy but also it has a clear benefit to the company in terms of brand loyalty and building market share," said van de Straat. "There has been shared value."
Robert van der Laan, senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands, urged the audience members to investigate a company’s corporate social responsibility strategy before attending meetings.
"I get regular requests to discuss partnerships and donations," he said. "I’m showing them our strategic framework and looking to see whether they are willing to discuss our strategy. That has been the biggest change in the past three to four years."
Its strategy focuses on diversity and inclusion, environmental stewardship and community.
Van der Laan said: "For people and organisations that are just asking for money, 99 per cent of times the answer will be no. We want to get involved, we need to have a say in projects and we want to involve our own people."
Antoine Bertout, partner-relations manager at Skype, spoke about how the nine-year old company had recently been working with partners in health and education, using its product as a starting point.
He said the UN High Commission for Refugees had worked with Skype so that its aid workers could speak to their families at home.
"We are now trying to reach out to people who are interested in working with people in more innovative ways," Bertout said. "We like to hear a story, hear about innovation and if that is aligned with our corporate objective."
Per Heggenes, chief executive of the Ikea Foundation, showed a video about the grantmaker's work at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. The foundation gave £32m to the UNHCR to improve the lives of children living in the camps.
Heggenes said the foundation’s work in funding programmes for children was based on its corporate values of innovation and efficiency. It had, he said, recently funded a small organisation to make a more durable solution to the tents used in refugee camps that would cheaper in the long term.