What makes corporate partnerships successful? An interview with girls and women empowerment charity WONDER Foundation
What makes corporate partnerships successful?
WONDER is a charity dedicated to empowering women and girl’s through education. Through partnering with locally-led projects around the world, they adopt a grassroots approached opposed to a top-down one. A women-led charity; WONDER partners with projects run by and for local women worldwide, helping them provide educational opportunities to women and girls. They work with women, girls and their families towards sustainable, long-term change, focusing on quality education which leads to employment. In turn, helping to break cycles of poverty.
We’ve had a chat with Dominyka to learn more about her experience with corporate partners, what makes a great partnership and why WONDER has decided to join G.APP17 impact community.
Why do you think it’s important that charities and businesses build mutually beneficial partnerships?
‘The corporate sector has a very different skillset from the charitable one… By working together, we have an opportunity to improve our mutual knowledge and skills. Having a mutually beneficial partnership is important and has the potential to blossom into something really wonderful. With two-way communication we can find better and quicker solutions together, achieving a larger impact together as businesses and as charities.’
What are the issues you face when building a corporate partnership?
‘One of the biggest issues when it comes to building a meaningful partnership between a charity and a business – especially for smaller charities like WONDER – is that it’s very time-consuming. With a team of 1-2 people managing fundraising activities, finding and then establishing partnerships takes time.
We are always grateful for businesses wanting to get involved with our work and contribute their time and expertise. But we know that we can create the best CSR impact for corporates and ourselves when we give them the chance to truly contribute. Off-the-peg, one-day volunteering opportunities can mean that a company uses its resources on projects that do not improve ongoing charitable programmes, nor align with their current CSR strategy. We are committed to using our resources, and the talents of our volunteers, to have the maximum impact for women and girls. And this means creating meaningful long-lasting relationships which contribute to building a better society and that both of us are proud of.’
What is in your experience the most important thing to make corporate partnerships successful?
‘Having an honest conversation from the very beginning. From the first initial conversation when you reach out to a business – first point of contact, what’s your aim, what are you trying to achieve. We need to have a consistent, realistic conversation to make corporate partnerships successful. We know that volunteers and businesses working with us want to know they are making a difference which goes much further and deeper than just painting walls!
If you have a conversation with the partner from the very beginning and this is consistent throughout the partnership, you can develop opportunities with them and make sure the partnership is successful.’
Not sure how to approach this? Learn more on our step-by-step guide for charities to build successful corporate partnerships.
‘Building that mutual understanding between the company and the charity is what I envision to be the best way forward for partnerships. We can achieve true long-term sustainable impact that we can all be proud of.’
How do you achieve impact as a charity?
‘WONDER works with locally-led projects all over the world because we have a grassroots approach rather than top-down. We work with women and girls to achieve gender equality and also provide them with decent work opportunities. We focus on quality education, which leads into good jobs. We’ve learnt from experience that getting a diploma is not enough. Having transferable skills, making sure that in changing circumstances you’re still capable of adapting your knowledge to a new environment is essential. We have a really good success rate. We are interested in giving women and girls with few opportunities the chance to have agency in their own lives. Which is what all of us want.’
(writer’s note #1: she’s being modest here, they have an outstanding success rate. Wait to hear it!)
‘98% of our girls manage to get a job after graduation and double their family income within the next six months.’
(writer’s note #2: that’s right… she did say 98%, I had to ask her again just to make sure!)
‘Thanks to our local approach we know what is desired locally, what skills people need to find a job in that specific environment. So many students already have qualifications. But they struggle to find a job because they don’t know how to work in a team, how to manage time, work-life balance. All these elements go into our programmes. So they can build the soft skills they need to achieve really good results.’
Any success story you’d like to share?
‘I’m very proud of our partnership with Electroneum… we have constant open communication with them and have mutually beneficial skill sharing. For example, they introduced us to cryptocurrency… Their advice has been irreplaceable.
We’ve had a meeting with their entire team, starting to envision how the partnership will evolve in the future and what possibilities there are. That was one of the best things ever in my experience with corporate partnerships. I know that by combining our skills of us understanding more about vulnerable communities and them stepping in with the technology we can both achieve a lot more than we have so far.’
And finally… why have you decided to join the G.APP17 impact community?
‘What’s exciting to me is to see corporate partnerships evolving… seeing how charities and businesses can actually work together better. I think the platform is going to give time back to businesses and charities to focus more on impact, rather than administrative tasks.
I believe that’s the future when it comes to corporate partnerships. Having a facilitating process to get linked with like-minded organisations that have exactly the same goals as a charity.’
Want to join WONDER Foundation and other amazing organisations that are going to revolutionise how they make corporate partnerships successful? Find out how.
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