Corporate Support - Examples of partnerships
How voluntary organisations have moved beyond a simple funding relationship to build more sustainable partnerships.
These examples of sustainable partnerships are built on creative thinking rather than a 'handout mentality' and as such they deliver benefits to both sides.
This charitable partnership is widely regarded as a model of excellence within the field of corporate social responsibility. Since 1999 British Gas has provided support to Help the Aged of more than £6 million.
Describing one inititiative, Simon Henderson, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at British Gas explains: 'Doorstep selling is part of our overall sales activity and we have taken advice from the voluntary sector on how to do this in a proper way to older and potentially vulnerable clients. Treating our customers well and giving them what they really need benefits everybody in the equation.' This isn't about being exploitative - it's about looking at what the voluntary sector has to offer and finding a win-win situation.
The partnership also involves employee fundraising with the company matching what employees raise. Employees have raised more than £275,000 and more than 50% of the workforce is actively engaged in this aspect of the partnership.
"The partnership is one of unique strength. Both partners bring to the relationship different skills and expertise, but together it is a union of tremendous potency. The partnership has already helped thousands of vulnerable older people, providing direct help and support to those who need it most. We are literally saving lives - now and in the future."
Michael Lake, Director General, Help the Aged.
It's a sustainable relationship because it develops the company's markets and people. And it's delivering benefits to Help the Aged's beneficiaries far wider than a one-off handout could ever have done.
Centrica started a project that grew to a point at which the company realised that if it was to be serious about a partnership with the Carers National Association it must look at its own policies towards employees who were carers.
Research commissioned by Centrica into its existing staff policies made them aware of a significant number of employees who were carers. The company responded by becoming one of the first to have a policy specifically for employees with caring responsibilities. This is living proof that voluntary organisations can usefully and significantly change company policies to the lasting benefit of their own client group.
'Our Carers Policy was developed in recognition that some employees may have long-term or permanent caring responsibilities. We recognise the importance of working with Carers UK to ensure our employees can successfully manage the balance between care and employment responsibilities.'
Because the partnership was of real benefit to British Gas at an employer-employee level and it has flourished. In the north west of England a pilot scheme has led to the company taking on 50 people who are or have been carers who feel they can also make a work commitment but who are outside the normal labour market recruitment channels as a result of their caring.
The benefit to the business has been considerable. It's a very good way of recruiting highly qualified and suitable people, 'dedicated individuals beyond all imagination.' It is being rolled out to other Centrica offices across Britain. The partnership has benefited the voluntary organisation, its users and Centrica.
Accountancy practice KPMG and The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO)
These two organisations have collaborated on several initiatives. KPMG benefits from NACRO's specialist knowledge and networks and NACRO has been able to draw on KPMG's commercial expertise.
KPMG's Community Brokering Service supports innovative research by NACRO and the Prince' Trust into the lives and histories of Young Offenders Institutions, investigating the cost and effectiveness of various interventions.
Two KPMG staff advise on the development and financial methodology and analysis of data.
NACRO collaborates on KPMG's value for money audits of local authority youth justice services.
These organisations worked together to establish a business centre for small business development, which assisted in creating local employment opportunities.
UCM became an adviser and then a board member to the Community Co-operative. They used their contacts and credibility to help secure a disused Courtauld's factory for the project and also encouraged other companies to get involved.
UCM gave financial and business planning assistance and provided access to training as well as offering meeting rooms, equipment and materials. They eventually became a tenant of the business centre, underpinning the centre's financial viability.
UCM benefited from enhanced community profile and increased recruitment from minority groups (previously an under represented labour pool) and from being perceived as a fair employer. The additional workspace they gain enabled business expansion.
Further Case Studies
The latter two examples are taken from Two Way Street the report of TaskForce 2002, a working party convened by Business in the Community and NCVO to explore the promotion of lasting relationships between business and voluntary organisations. Its central theme is to challenge the stereotype that the business sector has a monopoly of power and resources: benefits can flow both ways. Two Way Street is available from Business in the Community on 0870 600 2482.
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