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It should be a great time to be a charity.

Businesses are desperate to partner and support charities, but it’s got to be done right and real.

Despite market uncertainties, falling pound value, Brexit, and the cost of living crisis, UK charities should be in a good position to build and grow.

Why? Because businesses need charities more than ever.

Brands are under the microscope. They are being examined by consumers who demand to know where and how products are made to procurement and supply chain teams who wish to analyse minute details of businesses – things such as the percentage of LGBT+ staff employed and their route to Net Zero.

The importance of CSR and ESG programmes cannot be underestimated. This means businesses need charities as much as charities need businesses now. Charities can give businesses invaluable credibility, purpose, and legitimacy. Of course, if this partnership is done incorrectly, it can be seen as corporate wash – and we all know about that. No charity wants a “Shell/British Cycling” situation.

Ultimately, charities need to be prepared to both reach out to businesses as well as receive enquiries. You want to have a big red flag to wave saying “We’re open and ready to partner.”

There are more than 400,000 registered charities in the UK, and many could be making more of this growing opportunity. I’ve outlined a few tips for what charities can do to attract the right corporate support.

Be prepared!

Partnerships need to be about more than a feel-good factor, and businesses looking to develop relationships need to get something tangible in return. They need to know how your charity can make them look good, and support their staff, customers, and community.

Be selective.

Think about the types of businesses that would best suit your charity. Being aligned with good businesses also makes charities more attractive to support.

When approached by a business, you will have to carry out proper due diligence and often ask difficult questions. It’s not just about the money, any partnership means you are giving your brand away to others.

Too often charities take corporate money without the research, and this is where misalignment leads to big reputational problems.

Be clear.

Business CSR and ESG programmes need to show measurement and a return. Every pound is scrutinised by directors and shareholders these days, so to attract the best, you need to be prepared to show where donations and corporate money goes, who benefits, and how progress is benchmarked. Impact is the big corporate buzzword now, so the more you can show how funds make impact, the more attractive your charity becomes.


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