What makes a good tech and charity partnership?

We take a look at some of the most successful tech and charity partnership, why they work and how they drive value for organisations.

Paul Rubens | 17th Oct 19
a good tech and charity partnership can really help organisations grow

Ask the question “What can a charity get from a partnership with a commercial organization?” and the obvious answer is “money”. But while money is very important, good partnerships are about much more than that: the best also provide access to knowledge and expertise that charities may lack, as well as ways for charities to benefit from their corporate partner’s resources.

This is particularly important today, in an era where many charities are striving to become more data-driven and to increase their revenues and reach through digital. That being the case, who better for a charity to look to for a partnership than a tech company?

Why do tech companies make good partners?

Most importantly, tech companies are likely to have a high level of expertise, and may even be responsible for developing, the types of technologies that charities need and can benefit from.

But charity tech partnerships go deeper than the technology itself. That’s because many tech companies employ young, talented and idealistic people who are keen to help with worthwhile causes.

Many tech companies are also relatively young, and that means they use new systems and processes to carry out their business, unencumbered by older technologies and established ways of doing things. For a charity looking to become more digital, it is likely that a partnership with a tech company will provide the opportunity to be “disrupted”. That means exposure to these new systems and processes could “rub off” on the charity and the way it operates, and less efficient practices can be swept away. In essence,  a good charity tech partnership can increase the metabolic rate of the charity, making it fitter, more agile, and, ultimately, more effective.

> See also: The charity campaigns fighting child abuse with digital

The good news for charities is that the evidence suggests that commercial organizations are now more interested in partnerships that allow them to offer more than just cash to the charities they support. Last year 70 per cent of these organisations gave to charities strategically, and less than 20 per cent went in ad-hoc donations, according to LBG, an organization that helps companies measure their contribution to society. This is a complete turnaround from just ten years ago, when more than 60 per cent of its members said they gave randomly, and only 30 per cent gave strategically.

Here are some examples of successful charity tech partnerships:

JuiceAcademy and Hootsuite Key benefits: free software licenses, guest lectures, training bursaries
Social media management software vendor Hootsuite as teamed up with Juice Academy, which offers apprenticeship programs, to offer free Hootsuite licenses to apprentices, who also benefit from guest lectures from Hootsuite’s leading practitioners.  Hootsuite also pays the tuition fees for one charity employee  on each apprenticeship program, enabling them to become professionally trained social media specialists for free.

WWF and Octopus Energy Key benefit: increased awareness in Earth Hour

Octopus Energy partnered with WWF to increase awareness in Earth Hour, a campaign to save energy resources. For every customer who reduced their energy consumption by 50% during Earth Hour, as measured by Octopus’s smart meters, it donated £5 to WWF. As well as raising £5,600 for WWF the partnership allowed both partners to increase awareness in Earth Hour and the need to minimise energy resource usage.

Youth Music and TikTok Key benefit: Use of TikTok’s music platform
Youth Music supports emerging musical talent, and its partnership with short-form mobile video platform TikTok enabled the charity to showcase eleven tracks shortlisted for an award on its own channel on TikTok. As well as promoting the charity’s inaugural Youth Music Awards, TikTok also acted as the event’s sponsor.

> See also: App launches to help charities link up with businesses

Missing People and Deliveroo Key benefit: publicity

Deliveroo may be an online company, but its partnership with Missing People allowed the charity to help reunite missing people with their loved ones in the real world. It did this using mobile billboards mounted on the backpacks of Deliveroo’s army of youthful delivery riders as they delivered food to customers. This ensured that appeals for information about missing people travelled for miles and reached more people.

The Grand Appeal and Wowcher Key benefit: money
Money is still important in any charity partnership, even with the most sophisticated technology companies. When E-commerce firm Wowcher partnered with The Grand Appeal, which supports Bristol Children’s Hospital, it donated 2% of its sales on local Bristol deal purchases to benefit the cause.

> See also: 6 ways the charity sector is working to be more inclusive