Charity partnerships and community engagement – what now for businesses?

Charity partnerships and community engagement – what now for businesses?

One of the good things that has come out of our current experience is a strengthening of our sense of ‘community’. Many businesses, whilst struggling with their own challenges are still keen to explore ways to support a society that is suffering. Equally, charities and voluntary organisations have been struggling worldwide with a crisis in funding due to lockdown restrictions limiting fundraising events, plus the economic slowdown. MAXX Director, Catherine, recently met with Alice Troiano the CEO and Founder of an exciting new project which aims to bring business and not-for-profit organisations together for their mutual benefit. She was inspired and asked Alice to write a few tips on how businesses can make the most of the new era of charity partnerships and community engagement that is approaching. Maybe you will be inspired too! Over to Alice...

A new era of charity partnerships and community engagement is approaching, and we’d like to give you a few tips on how businesses can make the most out of it.

We are now living in very challenging times for all. Our routines have been disrupted and we had to re-think and re-adapt as best as we could. Yet, one thing remained key the whole time: community. Collaborating, acting together, building strong partnerships and supporting each other. That’s what's making the difference during these unprecedented times. And what will make both resilience and change possible in the coming months and years.

According to Forbes, the businesses that will come out of this crisis stronger than before are the ones that put social and environmental impact at the centre. Why? Because they have a closer relationship with their stakeholders. Because they value communities and make conscious decisions that do not just bring value to shareholders, but to people and the planet as well.

Therefore, partnerships with the non-profit sector will become more important than ever. And it's not just about donating money: there is so much more businesses and charities can do together. So sit tight and get creative! We're going to give you a heads-up on how to make the most of your charity partnerships.

Let's dive in! Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself when engaging with charities and communities.

#1 Are my charity partnerships aligned to my goals?

It may not seem a priority now but partnering with a charity can really bring prosperity to your business. For how long have you been supporting  good causes? Most of us have done it forever, but did you know there’s a way to make sure that your charity partnerships also bring value to your company?

That’s right. Both your business and your charity partner have specific goals, the trick is understanding them in advance. Our vision, mission and values are what drive our actions, both within the organisation and with the world. When choosing a charity, you can make sure their goals are strategically aligned with yours. This will allow you both to value your respective priorities and tell a real story together.

#2 Do I know the impact of my charity partnerships?

Don’t get me wrong here, every donation is helpful: whether it's money, time or surplus product. But what is the real value if we don’t know how our support is making a difference?

When we achieve something, we all want to know what we actually accomplished. Every business would like to see its fragmented charity efforts both locally and globally consolidated into tangible impact.

And how do we go about it? First, make sure you have clear objectives for your community/environmental initiatives. Then speak with your partner and agree on measurable targets based on shared priorities. Only when this is done can we actually talk about measuring impact.

So, now we have a community engagement strategy in place, and we have clear information about the impact of our initiatives. What's next?

#3 Do my customers know about my impact?

People need to know about the great work you are doing. I see many businesses simply stating in a hidden section of their website that they have made donations to local charities, or that their employees have been volunteering somewhere. Well that’s great, hats off to that! But why are you hiding it?

Everyone should know about how great you are and the incredible work you are doing with your charity partner! So tell them. Use social networks, newsletters, add an impact page to your website. You decide how to share your stories.

As revealed by a Greg Secker Foundation’s research, businesses who donate a small percentage of profit to charity (up to 5%) see their image improved among consumers. As their findings point out, if people knew your business gave just 5% of its annual profits to a non-profit organisation:

  • 43% would have a more positive opinion of the company;
  • 20% would use this company over competitors;
  • 17% would recommend the company to friends/family.

You should always be very proud of your charity partnerships and community support. No matter how small your contribution is, you're helping make the world a better place. So show it off!

#4 Am I part of a wider community of responsible businesses?

Since the declaration of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN has been working to raise awareness about the importance of cross-sector partnerships. A particular focus has been set on how the business community can partner with non-profit organisations to bring about sustainable long-term change.

The SDGs have become a globally recognised agenda for responsible businesses. In fact, whether you aim to make an impact within your local community, or you focus on a more global change, the SDGs are the best way to measure and communicate your community initiatives.

Many times I’ve heard UK businesses saying: “We don’t have international operations, so we don’t use the SDGs”. But did you know that actually the SDGs have become one of the main tools to assess companies’ sustainability and community strategies? Being it national, international or local. The 2030 agenda is for all, and I cannot stress this enough!

People in the street walk around and see the SDGs everywhere. They are starting to recognise them, and they expect your business to use them too. People know and care about them, and these people could be your customers – so what are you doing to tell them that you are also part of a global movement for change?

And #5…Am I embracing innovation?

Well, this extra tip is more of an invitation to you.

In fact, if you agree with the points above, if this is what you are looking for in your charity partnerships, then you should get hands on with innovation and join us to get exclusive early access to G.APP17. Also... did I mention it's completely free if you join now?

G.APP17 is a partnerships platform that will help you:

  • Find the right partner
  • Align your partnerships to the SDGs
  • Measure and share your impact
  • Make a difference together!

It's time to finally create shared value for your business and the communities you support. So, if you’re ready to make a difference, let’s talk.

Are you ready to become part of the change?

Alice is the co-founder and CEO of G.APP17, a digital platform that enables businesses to find the right non-profit partner and measure the impact of community initiatives through the SDGs. She believes in using business as a force for good and has spent the past years making sure that charities and companies are given the right tools to make a difference together, one partnership at a time.