Why charity partnership is more important than ever
25 June 2020 | By Niloufar Abhari
Given the unique challenges facing the charity sector today, from dealing with a global pandemic to addressing racial inequality, partnerships between charities is critical.
It is time to put aside competition, pool all of the resources at our disposal and tackle local and global problems, from Covid-19 to institutional racism.
Partnerships between charities can take many forms and provides numerous mutual benefits; including reaching wider audiences, paving the way for innovative solutions and increasing effective engagement. Major funders of the charity sector are strong proponents of partnerships between charities, exactly for these reasons. In fact, there are numerous designated grants available specifically for partner charities, including National Lottery Community Fund , Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and many more.
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the charity sector. Four out of five charities report having been impacted by COVID-19 and a 48% loss of annual voluntary income is predicted over the next year compared to 2019. Simultaneously, charitable services face increasing demand as the country deals with the aftermath of COVID-19. For instance, demand for emergency food parcels have increased 81% compared to this time last year. The Charity sector in the UK has a difficult year ahead. The pandemic’s global scale is comparable to challenges like climate change, and such complex and widespread problems cannot possibly be solved by a single organisation. The COVID-19 crisis presents similar multi-faceted challenges; from a lack of public health infrastructure to increased child-poverty. Partnerships between organisations and sharing of resources and databases will accelerate UK’s recovery from this crisis considerably.
Charity Partnerships have been indispensable to COVID-19 recovery in every scale, from local to national. Newham charities Bonny Downs Community Association, The Magpie Project and The Renewal Programme have partnered to provide food and other necessities to vulnerable residents in the area. Their shared hubs have helped centralise all donations and distribute them much more quickly to senior citizens and younger families.
Greater Manchester Women Support Alliance is a partnership between eight women’s organisations in Manchester, which in light of the COVID-19 crisis, has rallied the Greater Manchester Authorities to develop women’s accommodation for homeless women in Manchester.
On the other end of the scale The National Emergencies Trust (NET), the British Red Cross and the Charities Aid Foundations have launched a COVID fundraising appeal, which has collectively raised over £82 million since it began accepting donations in March. These funds are allocated to effective local charities who understand how to best use them.
More recently, Black Lives Matter is revealing systematic discrimination in British institutions, including in the charity sector. Black Lives Matter (BLM) UK has already raised £1m for the cause. However, BAME communities are highly underrepresented amongst charity Board Members and Trustees. The charity sector needs to step up and actively engage with BLM and other racial justice organisations, to offer tangible support. It is critical for white-majority charities to collaborate with such organisations to ensure black leaders are empowered. The underrepresentation of BAME individuals in the sector was heavily criticized last year by the #charitysowhite.
Empowering BAME-lead organisations through partnership is a great opportunity for the sector to express its dedication to inclusivity, and a number of collaborations such as Black Lives Matter UK and The Racial Justice Network, are great examples of this.
In short, charity partnerships are effective, attract funders and are now needed more than ever. Some steps to initiate partnership with another organisation can include; researching organisations who share similar goals and values with your organisation and initiating a discussion about partnering on specific project. Grants designated for charity partnership like the ones mentioned above can be a great incentive for both parties involved.
Have you come across great partnerships that are worth mentioning? Let us know on Twitter @OfficialCause4