Making the case for partnerships
THE mutual benefits of businesses and not-for-profit organisations working together came under the microscope at a conference in Exeter.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its role at a strategic level was the theme of 'Think Partnership 2012: The Business Case for Fearless Giving', hosted by ATASS Respect at St James's Park.
Setting the scene for the event, Vanessa Cobb, executive director of the 'beyond profit' enterprise, said the fundamental aspects of successful partnerships were authenticity, generosity and courage.
"Without generosity we are simply going through the motions, trying to get by in life, rather than looking at what contribution you want to make," she said.
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John Gregory, managing director of Gregory Distribution, explained how its Team Gregory initiative had helped to raise the company's profile while supporting five South West athletes on their quest to compete at London 2012.
He said the haulage company's 1,300 staff had been enthused by the progress of Gorgs Geikie, Liam Tancock, Heather Fell, Nick Dempsey and Jemma Simpson, but admitted that spending significant amounts of money on sports sponsorship risked alienating workers who would rather see it used to fund pay rises.
Helena Holt, chief executive of Devon Air Ambulance, explained that partnerships with other emergency services, the public and businesses were vital to the charity's ability to provide its life-saving service.
"It's not an exaggeration to say that our service would not exist without our partners," she said. "We like to work with people who know our business plans and can give us proactive support. We need them to share their business insight and vision to help us stay ahead of our game."
The benefits to businesses of supporting the charity through donations or services included improved brand awareness and increased sales.
Other speakers included Molly Bedingfield, of international charity Global Angels, and Andrew Maynard, of Exeter law firm Michelmores.