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corporate partnerships and the changing landscape

Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting with one of our industry’s most knowledgeable fundraisers when it comes to corporate philanthropy – Jay Shapansky, Director, Corporate Partnerships for Canada Children’s Hospital Foundations. As we know, corporate partnerships have changed dramatically over the last decade – shifting from transactional partnerships with the benefit of the intangible ‘halo effect’ promise (the notion that a company benefits from the goodwill associated with a social profit partnership), to more sophisticated, meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships that demand a clearer understanding of what the partnership will produce.

From Jay, here are the top takeaways for the current status of corporate philanthropy in North America:


Corporations want to see the impact of their funds. It is increasingly important for charities to find meaningful ways to do that. Corporate partners need to know their funds are well spent and there is good ROI for the partnership.


It is critical to provide data to your corporate partners – partners are looking for charities to be the experts when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility. It is incumbent upon the social profit partner to know their value, and be able to effectively communicate their business case to a potential (or current!) partner.


Corporations are savvy when it comes to engagement – social profit partners must think of creative – and meaningful – ways to engage employees, customers, and clients of their corporate partner. Authentic, mission-driven engagement is an absolutely critical cornerstone of a successful partnership. Transactional partnerships are dead.

4. UNDERSTANDING Understanding the corporate partner’s business is so important. Where are they looking to grow? Who are their competitors? What is a problem they are trying to solve? How can we as a social profit partner come in and help solve a need? If we can identify and solve a business problem, we are then seen as more than a charitable partner, but rather a partner that is integrated into their business.

Organizations looking to find additional information about trends, research and predictions into the future of CSR should take a look at the latest Catalist Report. Full of tangible, research-based insight into the industry.

In the end, when social profits begin to fully understand their value and business offering, they will be better positioned to enter into partnerships that not only contribute to their bottom line and further their mission, but will also provide stability through creating a mutually beneficial business relationship.

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