What is a charity partnership?

Charity partnerships for businesses are collaborative agreements that are meant to be mutually beneficial to both organisations.

For example, the charity might receive funding, increased exposure/awareness or sponsorship as part of the arrangement.

The business too could gain through increased staff engagement, better relationships with your stakeholders/community and positive PR through being engaged in a partnership with the right charity [1].

But what is the ‘right’ charity for your business to partner with?

It’s important to get this right. You’ll want to partner with a charity that you’ll work well with on projects and collaborations, so selecting one that shares your company values and is relevant to the work you do is a great starting point [2].

The size of the charity should also be a major consideration – if you’re a large business then look to partner up with a large charity and think about what it is you can bring to the table. Is it mainly publicity and exposure for the charity you can offer, or are you willing to provide substantial funds for projects and focus mainly on fundraising campaigns?

Arguably the most important consideration however, is whether the charity resonates with your customers and employees or not. If your employees are fully committed to the chosen charity partner, then they’ll be easier to motivate with getting involved in related campaigns and projects. Your customers and other stakeholders too will be more engaged from the start.

British Gas and Carers UK

This aspect of choosing a charity that resonates with your staff/stakeholders was at the forefront of the business’ mind when British Gas (through parent company Centrica) partnered with Carers UK. Carers UK is the UK’s only membership charity that provides expert advice, information and support to unpaid carers. They have an online forum, run a helpline for carers and their families whilst they also undertake research to help shine a light on the reality of carers’ lives and experiences. This helps towards making caring one of the most pressing policy issues nowadays in the UK.

So why did British Gas partner up with Carers UK?

Caring impacts many British Gas employees and 1 in 8 of our customers [3]. We are already leaders in carers policy with a thriving carers network offering flexible working and paid leave for employees who care for loved ones. At British Gas we acknowledge how much of an impact caring has on our employees’ lives, so we feel it is very important to help where possible. We help carers through promoting fundraising and volunteering opportunities whilst encouraging mass support for the caring cause. The aim is to create a world where every carer feels recognised, valued and supported.

British Gas has also already worked with Carers UK (but not as a charity partner) for the past 15 years to develop the leading carers policies we have in place today, so it seemed only natural to partner up with them after a successful working relationship was fostered over this time period.

Balancing work and care

Carers UK not only makes sense for our British Gas residential customers, but the knowledge-sharing we gain through the partnership gives us insight for our business customers too. The most recent campaign content on the Carers UK charity partnership is focussed on balancing work and care. It talks about how 1 in 7 adults in the UK are juggling both caring and work whilst many feel they must leave their jobs to care for a loved one.

600 people a day leave work because of their caring role and many end up reducing their hours. This could be down to struggling to find the right care services that are affordable for the person they care for, or a lack of flexibility/support from their employer.

Carers UK offers support and resources to help with making this decision, but as an employer, it is worth thinking about how you can support your employees who are carers too.

Leniency with flexible working hours can help your employees with balancing both work and care so it’s worth considering if your business can support in this way.

Another way you can support is through encouraging discussion about caring within your company and empowering employees to feel comfortable talking around the subject. British Gas are using the hashtag #sharethatyoucare to help spread the word about caring in this way. This aims to help remove the stigma surrounding caring and facilitating conversation on a topic that can so often be very difficult and personal.

[1] https://www.business-achievers.com/general/how-could-a-charity-partnership-benefit-my-business

[2] https://realbusiness.co.uk/6-reasons-why-your-company-should-support-a-charity-and-how-to-start/

[3] https://www.carersuk.org/

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