How to Build a Successful Charity Partnership

Successful Charity Partnership

What makes a successful charity partnership? And has your charity thought about how a partnership can benefit the organisation long-term?

If you are aiming to run a successful charity partnership, the end-goal shouldn’t solely be to raise money. It’s important to focus on how you can make the partnership more impactful to the wider community. The business you choose to partner with needs to have similar values to your charity, and most importantly both parties need to be seen as equals.

As a charity, bringing on a business to become a partner can come with many benefits. Firstly, the range of expertise that comes from a pool of skilled workers means that your charity can receive help in different areas within the organisation. Whether it’s HR expertise, marketing or finance, your charity is bound to benefit.

The business you work with, will also benefit as it can raise community spirit, encourage team building through fundraising and help improve their brand. A good example of a great partnership is Macmillan Cancer Support and Marks & Spencer (M&S) who have been in partnership for 10 years. M&S have been supporting Macmillan with their annual coffee mornings, and in the past year the charity was able to raise £26,914,382 from this one-day event.

So, how can your charity form a successful partnership with a business? We’ll go through some key factors in this article –

  • Set a clear goal

Why do you want to form a partnership? What do you believe you’ll be able to achieve with the business that you’re partnering with? Will the partnership make a significant difference to the lives of your charity’s beneficiaries? These are just a few questions to ask in the initial meeting to be able to create a clearer vision of what you want to both achieve.

  • Identify your target companies

There may be many companies that you admire and want to work with, but before forming the partnership you need to identify which one would ideally be a good fit. It may be a good idea to make a list of 15-20 corporate prospects. Some key questions to ask before whittling it down to your top five is –

  1. Is the company a good fit with your charity?
  2. Is there anyone within the charity that has a contact in that company? Would they be willing to help?
  3. Does that company have the resources to make a meaningful contribution to your charity?


  • Brand alignment

Do your charity’s values match up with the business you want to work with? It is imperative that both parties have a good understanding of each other and that you both share the same values. This is important for continued growth, development and brand recognition. Both parties should be able to complement each other and assist in achieving each other’s ambitions. A good example of this is Comic Relief and Sainsbury’s. It would be very difficult to think of ‘Red Nose Day’ without thinking about Sainsbury’s! They have had a long, successful and mutually beneficial partnership. Definitely the type of partnership you should aim for!

  • Staff engagement

The agreed partnership shouldn’t be based off what the senior executives ultimately decide. The thoughts and ideas of the team should be considered also. Are they just as passionate about the partnership and potential future projects? Do the teams on both sides feel enthusiastic and are they both genuinely committed to pushing the aims of the partnership.

  • Develop attractive opportunities

As a charity, you will want the support of a company whether it’s financially or to help spread the word about your cause. It’s easy to see where the gain is for your charity, so bearing this in mind…what can you offer the company you want to work with?

It’s a good idea to start investigating areas of your charity that a company would be interested in. For example, if you run a children’s charity and you have a programme whereby you help disadvantaged children learn new skills, this may interest employees in that company. They could have skills which are relevant and volunteering their time could make them feel fulfilled.

If you would like to speak to me about how to approach businesses for partnerships, you can contact myself, Suda, at or on 020 3146 1608.

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