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The brand purpose movement really started a few years ago with one of Ted Talks’ most watched speakers, Simon Sinek, who asked companies if they understood their ‘why’ – not what they did, or how they did it, but why they were in business.

In 2018 the business and financial world was rocked when global investment management corporation BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink sent a letter to CEOs of public companies telling them that they’re responsible not only to deliver profits, but also to make “a positive contribution to society.” This move heralded a significant shift in brand purpose, moving it away from the marketing department and directly into the boardroom. 

In recent years the movement has grown, not least because the workforce is predicted to be 75% millennials by 2025 and this “giving generation” is making their mark on company strategy as they want to work for a business that pays it forward.

So, what does this mean in terms of opportunity for the third sector? Donna Bulmer, Haines Watts’ charitable expert who is trustee to a number of non-profit organisations gives her top 5 tips for charities that want to work more with the private sector.

  1. Do your research – which companies have the right ethics and ethos to match your charity’s aims and objectives?
  2. Ask the right questions – find out what that company wants to achieve – is it staff engagement, is it to decrease their environmental impact, is it to support the next generation – what fits their values?
  3. Prepare a creative pitch – don’t just ask them to sponsor an event or do payroll giving, think creatively about what their workforce (and customers) might be able to do to really engage with your charity.
  4. Be clear on why it matches with your organisation – sell back to them why your organisation is a great fit, and how you can work together long term.
  5. Finally, give them a range of options – from fundraising to donating time and materials to being part of a major campaign or have your team go in and share what your charity does with their workforce, demonstrate how you can be partners in lots of ways.

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Donna Bulmer

With over 20 years’ experience, Donna is Managing Partner in the North East. Having facilitated the growth of the region’s two offices and almost doubled turnover over a four year period, she is now helping to drive national strategy through her position on the Haines Watts board. As well as advising growing owner-managed businesses, Donna spends a great deal of her time working with voluntary sector organisations and, as such, is one of the leading voices for the not-for-profit sector in the Haines Watts group. She is a strong advocate of social issues and diversity in the workplace, and is using her board position to help businesses understand the importance of corporate social responsibility. On top of this, she is a Trustee and Treasurer for local charity Streetwise Young Peoples Project and sits on the Finance Sub-committee of national charity Changing Lives.

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