While one might think that non-government organisations (NGOs) or charities wouldn't be the natural bedfellows of large corporate entities, the reality is that the two sectors are increasingly entering into deals that offer benefits to both sides.
Corporations and NGOs are capable of learning from each other, adapting their strategic aims and business plans through a partnership that highlights the best of both sectors, while adapting their hiring strategies based on what their counterparts are doing.
The recent C&E Advisory Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer revealed corporate (93 per cent) and NGO (79 per cent) respondents said that partnerships have helped to enhance business understanding of social and environment issues, while 46 per cent of corporate and 40 per cent of NGO firms suggested collaborations between the two sectors have helped to improve business practices for the better.
Charities can provide access to more innovative approaches and offer areas of expertise that companies would not be able to utilise otherwise, the study found.
On the other side of the fence, NGOs - who are operating in an increasingly volatile market and less able to rely on government funding than they have been in the past - are beginning to see corporate links as crucial to their long-term future and stability.
Furthermore, corporate organisations are acutely aware of the marketing benefits a link with charity can offer them, with 91 per cent of respondents citing this as a factor in any partnerships they have formed in recent years.
Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E, pointed out that these partnerships are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated as both sides of the coin realise how helpful they can be if carried out intelligently.
As the practice continues to mature it is likely it will become even more popular, the C&E chief indicated. With reputation management becoming a huge part of how businesses plan their marketing, it is obvious that major advantages can be accrued for firms that harness the potential of links with popular NGOs.
The success of these links has highlighted the possibility that not-for-profit companies could benefit from bringing in staff from a commercial background. While it may seem that this would not make them suitable for a charity role, the reality is that there is a great deal of common ground, as highlighted in the C&E report.
Commercial knowledge and experience can add credibility to a NGO team, potentially giving them a boost when it comes to obtaining funding or competing with rival organisations for certain contracts.
Given how competitive the world of NGOs has become, a degree of corporate nous may be necessary, even if it is brought in from outside of the voluntary sector.
Many charities can also offer a unique opportunity to commercial workers who are keen to indulge a passion for a particular cause or give something back, as this chance may not come up when taking on a new role in the business world.
That being said, man cannot live on passion alone, and NGOs attempting to poach staff from the commercial world will need to ensure their remuneration package is suitable