Corporate Community Partnerships On the Rise in Australia
5 March 2009 at 1:24 pm
Corporate community partnerships continue to grow rapidly in Australia towards an ‘integrative’ stage of collaboration according to a new report.
The direction of corporate community partnerships in Australia is towards an ‘integrative’ stage of collaboration, in which partners create new services and activities as a result of their collaboration, according the research report by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs.
The report called Relationship matters: not-for-profit community organisations and corporate community investment, was commissioned by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
The report looks at how to best leverage the operations and activities of NFP organisations to enhance interactions with large businesses.
The report finds that about 10 per cent of the income of the NFP organisations contributing to this report is derived from corporations.
Almost all NFPs indicated they partner with business to secure a funding source that is often more reliably available over time than funds available from governments (which remain the prime source of NFP funding).
Three-quarters of NFP organisations partner with business also to get access to specialist corporate skills, and assist build their capacity illustrating the importance of skills-transfer for both NFPs and also business.
About 70 per cent of NFPs — which are primarily ‘mission-driven’ entities — indicated partnerships with business improves what they do, and about half said also that their projects are more successful than if they did not partner with corporations.
Research for this report indicates that among smaller NFPs in particular, with little experience of collaboration with business, there remains some natural and ideological suspicion about the motives of businesses seeking to partner with them.
Most NFPs believe marketing benefits and reputation motivate business primarily to form relationships with NFPs (reputation was rated as the second highest motivation by corporations in the Centre’s 2007 report on corporate community investment).
They also rate corporate citizenship obligations as a main driver (rated number one by corporations in the 2007 Centre study), and see meeting stakeholder concerns as another key corporate community partnership driver for business (rated number four by corporations in 2007).
The report also looked at barriers to and opportunities for more corporate community partnerships.
About one-quarter of NFP organisations said business does not understand their objectives. Yet the most successful partnerships are characterised by corporations and NFPs making considerable effort to understand the mission and intent of how each entity operates.
Most NFP organisations believe better overall business sector understanding of NFPs and their complex stakeholder relationships, as well as the longer-term view they must take to mitigating societal issues or achieving community goals (when compared to the shorter-term profit cycles of business), would underpin more successful partnerships.
This report included quantitative survey research with 153 Not for Profit organisations and qualitative research workshops with NFPs in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Melbourne, as well as individual consultations with senior NFP sector executives. It follows the 2007 publication by the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs and the Business Council of Australia, Corporate Community Investment in Australia.
The report is available for download at: