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Successful Corporate Partnerships

18 September 2014 at 10:00 am
Lina Caneva
Westpac’s Head of Education and Social Sector Banking, Barry Thatcher shares the key elements of successful corporate partnerships that create deep social impact.

Lina Caneva | 18 September 2014 at 10:00 am


Successful Corporate Partnerships
18 September 2014 at 10:00 am

Westpac’s Head of Education and Social Sector Banking, Barry Thatcher shares the key elements of successful corporate partnerships that create deep social impact.

Barry Thatcher, Westpac’s Head of Education and Social Sector Banking, is committed to improving the capabilities of  Australia’s Education and Social sectors, providing strategic advice to some of the country’s most iconic universities, schools, hospitals, churches, charities and community organisations.

He is particularly proud of Westpac Group’s long standing affiliation with Jawun  – a partnership that facilitates Westpac employees to contribute their skills and knowledge to indigenous organisations via secondments to communities across Australia.

Here, Thatcher shares the key elements of successful corporate partnerships that create deep social impact.

Must-Have #1   Shared Values

A strong partnership should be built on a shared passion for a social need.

Westpac Group carries the vision of helping people and communities to prosper and grow; and a core belief at Jawun is that people should enjoy a basic human right to build financial security and be in charge of their own destiny.

Our shared values allow us to connect on common ground and join forces to create change around issues we both care about.

Must-Have #2   A Trusting Relationship

Trust – developed through open and honest communication – is the foundation of a strong and enduring relationship between a corporate and a community organisation. Being transparent and operating at the highest standard is what gains respect and corporate support from senior executives and board members.

While a senior person within the business community may be your initial sponsor who introduces you to their network, I advocate the benefits of relationship management via key line management staff. With the Jawun partnership, both organisations contribute key staff to discuss objectives, challenges and needs. The relationship manager from Westpac is now a key supporter for Jawun and represents the partnership objectives to the wider organisation.

Must-Have #3   Value Creation

The partnership must generate benefits for the community it serves, and also be mutually beneficial to both parties. Corporates may be looking to give back to their customers, improve staff satisfaction, or reinforce corporate values, and a community organisation may be looking for funding, resources, or access to expertise.  Our partnership with Jawun addresses, in part, our vision for reconciliation, and in turn, we can offer the expertise and mentorship of our highly skilled staff. Importantly, the value created should be ongoing if the relationship is to remain relevant.

Must-Have #4   A Continuing Narrative

In forming a partnership, you are agreeing to join your stories and write a shared narrative.  Like any good story, yours needs to advance, achieve something, and be memorable.  Keep talking with each other so you are mapping your journey ahead and planning for what will keep your narrative fresh and future-oriented. Tell your shared story internally and externally, applaud your characters, and be inspired by it.

Nice-to-Have #1   Corporate Staff Engagement

Depending on the relationship you forge, you may or may not engage directly with staff from your corporate partner. But having the non-financial support of a corporate in the form of shared human resources or mentorship can be as valuable –if not more so – as banking funds. Since founding the Jawun partnership in 2001 nearly 600 Westpac employees have contributed more than 76 work-years to the program.

Nice-to-Have #2    Marketing Value

A successful partnership can bring ongoing PR opportunities and can strengthen the position of both partners within their target market. Westpac Group firmly believes we can only prosper if our communities are prosperous. And for a community organisation that we partner with, having the support of a large corporate like Westpac makes them more attractive to other funders.

Nice-to-Have #3   Fun

Creating social change is serious business, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Our staff return from their secondments with Jawun having had a meaningful and diverse experience, and time and again they tell us they had great fun and formed friendships.

About Westpac Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan

Westpac Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2017 is available online at Westpac weave.

About Westpac Social Sector Banking

Westpac Social Sector Banking is deeply committed to the For Purpose sector, and can proudly say we have a national team of dedicated specialists and customised banking solutions to service the sector. The sole aim of our staff and bankers located across Australia is to deliver better banking experiences for our Social Sector Customers.

For more information, visit Westpac Social Sector Banking


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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