Companies and charities should have different objectives when they work together…this is ok. I recently heard about a company who said their objective for working with charity X was to raise a certain amount of money.
This, in my mind, should be the objective of the Fundraising Director of the charity, not of the corporate partner. Surely their objective is to sell more product. I know one of the most successful partnerships I worked on grew because our corporate partner sold more of their product around the time of the partnership. And we raised more money.
The company of course benefitted from a halo effect working with us, but ultimately their revenues increased.
I would love to start seeing companies being open to the fact that its ok to engage in a partnership with a charity to generate revenue and sell more products. I think if this reluctance was removed we could start to see charitable partnerships sit firmly within marketing departments and actually become even more effective. If you look at an organisations objectives behind a major sponsorship it isnt simply to do the right thing. They are very clear about why they engage in the partnership and what they want to get out of it and one of the main points will be…to shift more of their products.
If there was a change in this direction I believe we would start to see even more successful charitable partnerships, even greater alignment between companies and charities and longer term more sustainable partnerships.
This then may leave the door open for even purer philanthropy, with companies are giving a % of their profits to causes….then there will be some great sponsorship partnerships and philanthropy, not one dressed up as the other. The first couple of pages of this paper by Network For Good offers some great tips on this topic…download it here
What do you think? Am I off the mark here?