Catherine Rustomji, partner and head of charities at Shakespeare Martineau, which is attending Anthropy 23, explores the invaluable lessons businesses can draw from the world of charitable organisations.
Businesses have much to gain by embracing the values, practices and expertise of charities. The demarcation lines between charity and business are becoming more blurred as both sectors recognise the shared goal of creating a better society.
Collaborations between businesses and charities can lead to more significant and lasting impacts, not just in terms of corporate social responsibility but also in fostering a sense of purpose that benefits everyone involved.
It’s a win-win for both sectors, and together, they can forge a better future.
The power of purpose
Charities have always been driven by a strong sense of purpose. They exist to make a positive impact on society, addressing pressing issues and improving lives. Businesses can learn that a clear and meaningful purpose isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a guiding force that can drive engagement, loyalty and success.
Philanthropy with a purpose
Philanthropy isn’t a new concept, but what’s changing is the depth of engagement and commitment. Businesses are discovering that philanthropy should go beyond mere financial donations. Charities can teach them that meaningful engagement, volunteering and active involvement can have a more profound impact on both the community and the corporate culture.
Collaboration and impact
Charities excel in collaboration. They often work in partnership with other organisations and individuals to amplify their impact. Businesses can learn that by collaborating with charities, they can achieve more substantial and more meaningful results in their efforts to make a difference.
Charities are experts at communicating their purpose effectively. They engage their supporters emotionally and create a compelling narrative around their mission. Businesses can benefit immensely from this skill, as it can help them connect with their employees, customers and stakeholders on a deeper level.
Employee engagement and satisfaction
Charities understand the importance of engaging volunteers and supporters passionately. This principle translates well into the business world, where engaged employees are more satisfied, motivated and productive. Charities can guide businesses in creating a workplace culture that values purpose and engagement.
Charities are adept at measuring the real-world impact of their initiatives, allowing them to continually refine and improve their strategies. Businesses can learn that measuring their impact goes beyond profits and can involve metrics related to social and environmental sustainability.
Authenticity and trust
Authenticity and trust are at the core of the charity sector. Businesses can learn from charities that building trust with customers and stakeholders through transparent and ethical practices is essential for long-term success.