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2S films creativity for good
  • Sophie Cooke

3 tips for creating a successful charity-brand partnership

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

It is no secret that big brands and corporations can unlock financial support and large audiences for charities, however, as consumers grow more interested in the social values and global impact of companies, charity-brand partnerships hold more value to both parties than ever before. One-off, smile-for-the-camera donations from CEOs are being replaced by longer-term, strategic alliances that aim to bring about sustainable impact and real change. There is, however, some important criteria for choosing (and being chosen by) the right partner for your charity, and nurturing this partnership so that it is truly beneficial on both sides. Here we take you through what we believe to be key factors of successful collaboration along with some great examples.

Choose a like-minded brand

For any charity-brand partnership to succeed, it is crucial to choose an organisation with shared values. If you think alike, you are more likely to work well side-by-side, create and achieve shared objectives and build a relationship with long-term value.

A great example of a partnership built on shared values is that between Unilever and Heads Together. Heads Together is a mental health initiative led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aiming to tackle the stigma and create conversation around mental health. Unilever pride themselves on their commitment to help more than a billion people take action to improve their mental health by 2020, and strive towards a holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace both for their employees as well as for the business value. This shared focus has helped the two parties to work together effectively. Heads Together has been able to leverage Unilever’s many household brands to create awareness of their charity partners and of course receive a significant financial boost. In return this partnership has strengthened Unilever's commitment to wellbeing, boosting its reputation as a retailer and as an employer.

Find a partner with relevant influence

A charity-brand partnership is often an attractive option for a charity for its financial potential, however, an alliance can also open up opportunities to proactively address issues and change behaviours where the brand holds relevance and influence on the charity’s cause.

A great example of this is Tesco’s Partnership with Diabetes UK. Promoting the relationship between food and diabetes makes perfect sense. As the largest UK grocery retailer, it is clear that Tesco has the power to influence the baskets of a huge group of consumers. By increasing awareness of diabetes and its causes amongst its shoppers and encouraging healthier choices, Tesco have been able to support the work of Diabetes UK at the root of the issue rather than just providing financial support for the charity. It has also provided Tesco with an opportunity to show itself as a retailer which aims to educate its consumers and improve life quality.

Build an equal partnership

Charities can find it difficult to move beyond being the receiver of a grant to being an equal partner with a corporation. Brands are not always sure about what charities can offer them, and charities are not always confident in communicating what they can bring to the table. Working to benefit both sides often involves a more commercial approach than what charities are used to or comfortable with, however, thinking about the value they can add can help to both secure a partnership and give the charity a stronger foothold. This is also important in building a collaborative approach where both sides feel valued, and comfortable to talk honestly about how they can support each other and what works for both parties. It is also worth creating or selecting specific projects that the company can assist with, so that measurable impact can be attributed to their support.

Lloyds’ partnership with Mental Health UK (an initiative bringing together four mental health charities from around the UK) is a great example of one that is mutually beneficial. The partnership works because the charities have provided skills-based volunteering opportunities for its staff and in return, the charities receive help to improve their processes. The partnership has also led to the bank developing an e-learning initiative to raise awareness and understanding of mental health in the workplace. In addition, more than £5.5m has been raised for the charities involved over the past 18 months.

Showcase your partnership

When thinking about the marketing strategy of your partnership, it is important to create content which represents both organisations positively and brings together shared values. Showcasing your partnership is a great opportunity to get creative, and the examples above show different ways that this can be done successfully. At 2S Films we have produced authentic TV ads and online videos for some fantastic charity-brand partnerships such as RSPCA Assured and Tesco, as well as The Woodland Trust and Investors In People. If you are entering a partnership and thinking about how to showcase your work together, get in touch at HERE

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