Corporate-NGO partnerships are becoming increasingly strategic as brands look to gain insight about new markets, while charities want more than financial investment.

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Partnerships between brands and charities are becoming increasingly strategic, as both parties focus their attention on developing fewer, more impactful tie-ups that are built on problem-solving, according to C&E Advisory’s 10th annual Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer.

For NGOs that means partnerships are now about far more than a simple cash injection, while for businesses, pressure to demonstrate societal change is driving the shift.

Indeed, 94% of businesses believe NGO partnerships will become more important over the next three years, up from 86% last year, as pressure increases to prove they are about more than driving profit.

The vast majority of brands (89%) cite the need to show they are invested in driving change around societal issues as a major reason for the importance of NGO partnerships rising. Companies are also under increased pressure to enhance brand reputation, with 80% suggesting this will encourage them to invest in corporate-NGO partnerships over the next three years, a 13% rise on last year.

Other factors increasing the significance of partnerships for brands include pressure on resources, which has risen to 55%, up 22% compared to 2018; pressure from internal stakeholders to engage in more partnerships (39%, up 63%); and more evidence to suggest these partnerships are effective (70%, up 15%).

“Brands and NGOs want to leverage as much value as possible from their investment in partnerships. To do that they are focusing more on fewer, bigger, better relationships that are material to the brand and company,” says Manny Amadi, CEO of the C&E Advisory.

As purpose moves up the corporate agenda, the data also shows a clear rise in the number of brands forming partnerships as a way to gain access to knowledge, with 71% citing this as a key motivation for collaborating with NGOs, up 31% on 2018.

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