Small is Beautiful and Why CSR partnerships are crucial

by Neil Mehta

31 May 2023

Small, local charities are most respected for their generosity, donations, and trust. So what impact can charities expect from corporate partnerships?

According to published data, consumers in the United Kingdom have the most trust in doctors, followed by small and local community organizations. Consumers have less faith in larger charities than they do in smaller ones. According to research from the Open University Business School’s Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL). Over four out of ten people (43%) believe in local community organisations. Compared to a little under three out of ten (29%) who believe in national charities. 

The charity sector is nonetheless plagued by several problems, including concerns about administrative expenses, administration and management, and fundraising tactics. The research does, however, highlight the positive impact of smaller and local charities, as these groups benefit from similarly high public trust levels and the public’s tendency to give, and volunteer compared to national and worldwide organisations. 

Many third-sector organisations are currently struggling greatly with “trying to do more with less” because of financial constraints. If charity executives and trustees possess outstanding leadership and teamwork skills, they will be better able to manage the vast range of difficult situations that charities are facing. According to the study, a charity needs a particular set of characteristics to boost donations, volunteers, and—maybe most importantly—trust. These include: 

  • Belief in a cause with clear values 
  • Transparent accounting of money’s usage with the fewest feasible expenses and appropriately documenting charitable work 
  • Integrity and responsible money management 

Over 1 million trustees volunteer their time to make important decisions for the 194,000 charities that exist in the UK. It is without a doubt vital to support the supply of current and next generations of trustees who are willing to volunteer their time and have the requisite skills. Many people working in the third sector are currently forced to “do more with less” as a result of budget cuts. This is a clear example of how important it is for trustees and CEOs of charities to have the leadership and teamwork skills they need to deal with the many complex problems charities are facing right now. 

According to charities, the quantity of corporate interest in collaborations, volunteering, and other forms of assistance has not greatly increased. However, that is likely to change in 2023 as more companies in the UK attempt to expand their social impact efforts by supporting organisations that benefit their communities. Here, we look at three things’ charities should keep in mind to get the most out of partnerships with social value

Corporate Partnerships want proof of your effects 

Businesses that want to have a bigger social impact can choose from a wide range of local organizations. And as we all know, certain causes—particularly those that produce obvious results—are more likely to receive support than others. Many corporate contributors favour a small number of organisations while neglecting others that are just as vital but whose impacts are difficult to gauge or who are engaged in less well-known initiatives. 

If you want to keep your cause from lagging, impact reporting is vital. It is crucial to emphasise the societal benefits of your activity if you want to attract new supporters. Additionally, qualitative reporting, such as beneficiary testimonials, can be just as powerful in conveying your story as figures alone. 

A checklist exercise for social value is not sufficient 

Businesses that approach partnerships with charities with a “box-ticking” mentality usually fail to achieve the desired goals. Unfortunately, there are certain collaborations that end up costing the organisations involved more time and effort than they are worth. Especially those that entail corporate volunteering. 

Fortunately, business attitudes are changing, and organisations are looking for more modern charitable partnerships. More than ever, those alliances must benefit both parties. Therefore, before beginning any collaborative initiatives with businesses, set clear expectations. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to be specific about the kind of support you require; doing so will enable you to find the companies most qualified to assist your endeavours. 

People using digital device

Make the most of all the resources that are accessible

Although many companies have resources to provide, they are occasionally dubious about which charities will genuinely profit from them. It’s possible that corporate sponsors who could provide the skills, goods, and services that could be extremely helpful to you are not necessarily immediately aware of them. 

Matching charities and corporate partners effectively ensures that all resources are found and utilised efficiently. Multi-resource partnerships set the stage for ongoing future cooperation and may help to generate long-term societal benefit when parties are able to work together and meet one another’s needs in a variety of ways. 

Read more about partnerships in Neil’s other blog articles below:

Why Social Media is Critical to Small Charities for Fundraising

Why Small Charities were Vital in the Pandemic-Syndemic

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