Finding the right charity partner to support your sustainability programme can be daunting. With so many options, and so many opinions among your teammates, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you’re looking for.
These four questions will help to narrow your search and ensure that you find the perfect match for your philanthropic initiatives.
What do you want from a partner, and what can you offer them?
It might seem obvious, but this is the most important step. To narrow your search, you need to know why you want a partner, and what you can offer one another.
For most, having a partner creates the opportunity to engage employees (and potential employees) on a cause they care about. This usually involves three types of activities:
Fundraising, like charity bike rides encourage team spirit, wellbeing and even fitness (excluding cake sales). All of this is good for employees, contributing to a better work-life balance.
Skills volunteering, employees have the chance to extend their skills, while offering expertise to the partner organisation. A more fulfilling way to volunteer that makes the most of what your employees have to offer.
Sharing stories. Charities have the best stories to tell. And once your partnership is well established, there’ll be plenty to share about the difference your funds have made. Some charities even allow you to specify a particular area of their work you’d like to support so that you know exactly where your money is going.
What’s the focus?
For employee engagement and communications to be effective, the charity partnership must be:
Strategic and tied to your vision. The charity’s vision must align with your company vision and sustainability strategy. Then your communications around the charity partnership can contribute to your broader initiatives.
Relevant to employees. It could be based in your local community, or related to your industry sector. You could even give employees the chance to vote on which type of charity they’d like to support to kick-off the employee engagement activities. Either way – employees must be interested to begin with for it to be a success.
Should you have more than one?
If you’ve few resources, one partner is easier to manage and simplifies communications to your team.
But if you’re spread over more locations with more people, multiple partnerships allow you to cover more topics and geographies, making it relevant to more people.
Beware! Having too many partners risks losing the strategic approach and bombarding employees with communications and events.
What size charity should you choose?
Size matters. Big charities often have well-established fundraising and corporate partnership departments, making your relationship easy to manage with lots of events and engagement opportunities. But the contribution of your business could have a far bigger impact for a smaller charity, relative to their income.
How to check? In the UK, charities report their annual income to the charities commission – you can check the figures there to see how they compare.
Now you’ve answered these four questions you’re ready to start the research. Good luck!