Navigating partnership selection as a corporate foundation

Post Date
27 May 2024
Author
Bolu Iyiola
Author
Emma Evans
Read Time
4 minutes

Partnership selection is an essential part of corporate foundations as partners serve as the conduits for meaningful positive social impact. However, this process comes with its own challenges that can hinder the progress of the corporate foundation. In our fourth event in the Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Corporate Foundation series, we delved into the intricacies of partnership selection, exploring what makes a successful partnership and how to navigate the challenges that come with it. Our guest was Amanda Jordan OBE, an expert in corporate social responsibility and the founder of Business for Societal Impact (formerly LBG).

To kick off the session, participants were asked to share the hurdles they face with partnership selection. These included navigating the vetting process, finding partners who align with their objectives, and managing budgets effectively.

Word cloud: ' Access, awareness, due diligence, decisions, capacity building finding the
Result of word cloud when corporate foundation practitioners were asked about the types of challenges faced during partnership selection.

As evident in the challenges listed by practitioners above, the partnership selection process requires careful consideration and strategic planning. Amanda shared the following key considerations for partnership selection:

  • Shared objective: The foundation of a successful partnership lies in aligning objectives. Finding partners who share the corporate foundation’s mission is critical to driving impact together.
  • Governance: Good governance within partner organisations is essential. For example, understanding the potential partner’s relationship with their trustee board, how often they meet, etc.
  • Research: Investing time in thorough research and assessment of potential partners pays dividends. Explore a potential partner’s track records and previous collaborations to ensure compatibility.
  • Relationship building: Building rapport between corporate foundations and potential partners through face-to-face interactions fosters trust and ensures alignment with company values.
  • Openness: Transparency is crucial. Corporate foundations must communicate their expectations with potential partners and be open about the partnership selection process.

Amanda also emphasised the importance of having a social impact framework in place. Leveraging a social impact framework such as Business for Societal Impact (B4SI) provides a platform for businesses to come together to share good practices, connect, and learn. B4SI also collaborates with companies to develop, implement, and measure their social impact. The B4SI framework can help to drive successful partnerships and the benefits provided include:

  • Measurement: Setting clear objectives and measuring impacts according to the B4SI framework provides a solid foundation for evaluating success.
  • Learning: Continuous monitoring and assessment are essential for improvement and adaptation.
  • Storytelling: Utilising B4SI metrics to enhance the narrative, enabling stakeholders to engage with tangible evidence of impact.
  • Recognition: B4SI’s international recognition underpins its value in the corporate and non-profit sectors, facilitating effective partnerships.

Looking to the future of partnership selection

Digital technology is reshaping the future of partnership selection and while technology helps to expand outreach, Amanda emphasised the importance of face-to-face interactions in building meaningful relationships. Digital technology cannot completely erase the importance of the human element inherent in personal interactions which help to build trust, foster rapport, and deepen the understanding between corporate foundations and potential partners.

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Our next event in the Addressing the Elephant in the Room series will be held on Wednesday 5th June at 13:00 BST. We will explore corporate foundations’ alignment with their parent company’s purpose and strategy. Our guest speaker, Kate Ashworth, Societe Generale UK Foundation Manager, will share her insights and experience on this topic. Kate Ashworth brings a wealth of experience, having led strategy development, governance, and operational management for Societe Generale UK Foundation. Register your interest here to attend.

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