The power of purpose: Why businesses should partner with charities
Jane Dennison, CEO of the Dragonfly Cancer Trust, offers her insights into the charity’s mission, partnerships and how it overcomes the challenges it currently faces.
Can you tell us a bit about the charity and what its main areas of focus are?
We work with specialist cancer treatment centres, hospitals, hospices, and families providing support for young cancer patients under the age of 25 with a palliative diagnosis. Our focus is on memory making, helping young patients to make each moment matter with their loved ones. We do this by providing Cash Gifts for young patients to do something special with their remaining time. The money can be used, when needed, on a pain-free day to give back a sense of freedom and control.
Provision of specialist activity/distraction boxes for young cancer patients undergoing treatment in cancer wards and day units. Sibling/Memory Boxes to provide support and important therapy for young patients and families to express their emotions and talk about their bereavement.
At a time when it is particularly difficult to find corporate support, can you outline the benefits for businesses to team up with a charity?
When considering a partnership with a charity, it is important to choose one that aligns with your business values and goals. A genuine commitment to the cause and a well-structured partnership can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes for both the business and the charity. Partnering with a charity will help your brand reputation, increase customer loyalty, and boost employee morale and satisfaction.
In a crowded marketplace, a commitment to a social cause can set your business apart from the others and provide positive media coverage. Long-term partnerships with a charity can also stimulate creativity within your business and strengthen your ties with the local community.
Vibe Dance Group members showcased their commitment to Dragonfly Cancer Trust charity with a five-mile sponsored walk. What other partners do you have and how do you attract businesses to work with you?
Some of our long-term partners are Kans and Kandy and Fundraise and Recycle Limited, based in Durham and have supported us on an ongoing basis through The Big Give initiative and sponsorship of our annual ball. Their continued support has helped us grow and develop our services on an ongoing basis.
When attracting a new business, we clearly define our mission, goals, and impact of our charity. We research each company to ensure that they have a natural alignment with our cause and send a compelling pitch. We tailor our approach to each business and make sure that we can offer a meaningful partnership.
Sharing stories and demonstrating the impact our charity makes is paramount. We explore possibilities of collaborative campaigns, not only to raise awareness but to show the company’s commitment to our cause. Keeping our business partners up to date with significant projects, initiatives and impact is key, as this is an important steppingstone to pave the way to a long-term relationship.
Post-Covid, has there been a dip in onboarding volunteers and people signing up for fundraising events? What can charities do to increase much-needed awareness and publicity in such a challenging time?
There has been a noticeable decrease in the number of volunteers offering their time and a strong decline in event participation in the last six months. The post-Covid landscape is unique, and we are still navigating some of the challenges this presented to our charity.
We have leveraged our social media platforms, increased our email campaigns and are currently redeveloping and updating our website with our latest events. We regularly look at what we are offering to our supporters and look for new and exciting events and ways for everyone to get involved.
Where possible, we create engaging and shareable content that highlights the impact of what we do and highlight the benefits of volunteering. We showcase the tangible impact of volunteer’s efforts and event participation and provide real-life examples to demonstrate how volunteers contribute to positive change. Each year we celebrate the support of our volunteers through thank you events and strong and consistent stewardship.
How do you see the relationship between charities and corporate partners playing out in the months ahead?
In this difficult economic and social climate, the relationship between charities and corporate partners can take on several potential trajectories. Challenging times can often foster a sense of community and solidarity. Charities and corporate partners may need to reassess their priorities. Charities may focus on programs that directly address the needs arising from the difficult climate, whereas corporates may realign their corporate social responsibility efforts to the current situation.
Many charities rely heavily on donations from corporate partners and may need to adapt their fundraising strategy to bridge the gap of the downturn in corporate support. In times of crisis, there is often an increased demand for transparency and accountability. Charities and corporate partners may well collaborate to communicate their efforts and impact clearly to the public to maintain trust.