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Five tips for launching successful corporate partnerships

In August 2020, End Youth Homelessness (EYH) achieved what may sound near impossible in the current climate and secured a new corporate partnership with The Body Shop. Corporate partnerships are one of the main ways in which EYH, a nationwide movement made up of 11 regional charity members, raises funds, and less than two months into the partnership they launched a joint virtual event called Sleep Out.

We initially became aware of the new partnership when EYH chose to work with JustGiving’s Digital Services team to launch a one-stop-shop virtual event microsite, fully designed to showcase the brand and tone of both EYH and The Body Shop. Now that the event has passed (it took place on 20th November last year), we thought it was a great time to ask Abbie Murphy, Development Manager at EYH, to share her advice and experiences of corporate partnership fundraising.

It’s still possible to find new corporate partners during COVID-19

We’ve found securing new business to be tough since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the sectors that have been hit hardest. But by and large, people still want to give. We’re living in a time where it’s difficult to get out and do much practical ‘good’, so we’ve found there’s a real appetite for ways to make a difference from home, and supporting businesses with their staff engagement is a huge part of this.

Be clear about what each side is bringing to the table

It’s important to find a partner that’s a good strategic fit and that both sides are clear about what they’re bringing to the relationship. When working with The Body Shop, we were there as fundraisers, providing our knowledge and expertise on how to organise mass participation events. On the other side, The Body Shop is a brand all about activism and they know exactly what their staff and customers like. They helped us think not only about how to deliver an event, but how to inspire people to take action and make change. Whilst EYH were the ‘experts’ when it came to fundraising and events, The Body Shop opened so many doors for us outside of this – helping us secure the support of Channel 4 and producing our advert, Unseen Kingdoms. They also supported heavily with influencers and social/PR coverage. Essentially, we were able to deliver the event for them, but they used their voice to significantly raise the profile.

Be willing to listen and adapt

It’s really important to understand the partner that you’re working with. Your team can get together to brainstorm and come up with events that you think will work, but if you’re not willing to adapt the idea to the people that you’re partnering with then you’re creating a huge blocker. Yes, we went to The Body Shop and told them the virtual event that we wanted to do, but we needed their input as they know their audience best. Don’t be so confident that you forget to listen to your partners.

Don’t get stuck in your ways

It’s easy to become wedded to using the same communication channels for every campaign. The Body Shop has such a diverse range of employee roles, from those working in head office, to The Body Shop At Home consultants and those working in the store – and they wanted to engage all of them in Sleep Out. This taught us a lot about communication, and we tested new ways of interacting, including Instagram Lives and Q&As on Twitter, which saw a great response. Different groups of people responded to different channels, so we learnt that keeping communications varied is something we need to do for all of our events.

Invest in virtual fundraising

There has been a lot of challenges in the last year and if you want to reach more people you have to accept that a lot has now moved online. I know budget is hard to come by, and I know that because we’re a small team and we don’t have a lot of it ourselves, but you have to weigh up putting budget into virtual fundraising as an investment. We just would not have been able to deliver something on this scale had we not had the JustGiving Digital Services team, The Body Shop employs thousands of staff and in the end we had over 2,000 people register to take part, raising over £310,000, we simply wouldn’t have been able to manage without investing in the microsite.

Thank you to Abbie and End Youth Homelessness for chatting with us and sharing helpful corporate partnership tips. If you’re interested in launching a virtual event, then JustGiving has lots of tools and resources for your charity to use. Find out more about how we can help with your next virtual event.

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Candid launches ‘U.S. social sector’ dashboard | Philanthropy news

Candid has launched a U.S. Social Sector Dashboard, a free resource designed to “demystify” the sector by providing data on its scope, constraints, and potential.

Developed with funding from Amazon Web Services and Vanguard Charitable, the dashboard offers key data and insights about the makeup and impact of civil society, including previously unreleased statistics on the racial composition of leaders and funding flows to charities. According to the dashboard, the social sector, which employs 12.5 million people, comprises more than 1.81 million nonprofit organizations: 501(c)(3) charitable organizations (80 percent), which include public charities (73 percent) and private or community foundations (7 percent); 501(c)(4) advocacy and social welfare groups (4 percent); 501(c)(6) business associations (4 percent); 501(c)(7) social and recreation clubs (3 percent); labor unions and other 501(c)(5) groups (3 percent); and fraternal societies categorized as 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10) organizations (2 percent).

According to the dashboard, religious organizations currently make up 18 percent of public charities, followed by those focused on human services (17 percent), community and economic development (15 percent), education (14 percent), sports and recreation (8 percent), arts and culture (7 percent), philanthropy and nonprofit management (7 percent), health (7 percent), and the environment and animal welfare (4 percent). In terms of funding flow, in 2018 public charities received $292 billion in contributions from individuals, $76 billion from foundations, $40 billion from bequests, and $20 billion from corporations; $174 billion in government support; and $1.6 trillion in earned income.

And among reporting nonprofits, 60 percent of CEOs identified as white, 10 percent as Black, 5 percent as Latinx, 3 percent as Asian/AAPI, 1 percent as Native American/Indigenous, 3 percent as multiracial/multiethnic, and 1 percent as additional ethnicities, while 17 percent did not disclose. Among board members, 66 percent were white, 15 percent Black, 7 percent Latinx, 5 percent Asian/AAPI, 1 percent Native American/Indigenous, 2 percent multiracial/multiethnic, and 0.4 percent additional ethnicities, while 4 percent did not disclose.

“Candid exists to get people the information they need about the social sector to do good. Many of our tools focus on one organization, one grant, or one issue at a time; that kind of focus can be critical for decision makers,” said Candid executive vice president Jacob Harold. “This new dashboard builds on that focus by offering a fuller picture of the social sector as a whole. We hope that this tool will help people build a better understanding of the nonprofit and philanthropic ecosystem and its central role in our society.”

(Photo credit: GettyImages/Prostock Studio)

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UW–Madison receives $20 million for Letters & Science building | Philanthropy news

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has announced a $20 million lead gift from brothers and alumni Jeff Levy (’72) and Marv Levy (’68, JD ’71) in support of a new academic building in the College of Letters & Science.

Construction on Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall, named for the parents of Jeff and Marv, is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025. Once complete, the building will establish a unified home for the Department of History and nine other L&S academic departments, programs, and centers that currently are spread across eight facilities on campus. The five-story building will feature nineteen classrooms as well as a space where students can gather and interact informally with each other and their instructors to maximize collaboration.

The Levy brothers own and operate Phillips Distributing Corporation in Madison. Their commitment was contingent upon the Wisconsin state legislature and governor including the project in the 2021-23 state budget with $60 million in state support, which occurred earlier this year.

“We envision this vital new facility as a highly collaborative and state-of-the-art learning environment for all,” said College of Letters & Science dean Eric Wilcots. “We are immensely grateful to the Levy family for their support of this vision. Our students deserve classroom space that enhances interactive learning and engagement through cutting-edge technology. They also deserve a building that inspires, rather than intimidates. The Levy family’s gift will reverberate through future generations, touching many lives.”

“We are proud to help make this building a reality. We hope it will be a central educational location for the undergraduate experience at UW-Madison,” said Marv Levy. “Our hope is that by honoring our family legacy of charitable giving with this gift, we can offer to future generations some of the opportunity that the UW has provided us.”

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U.S. nonprofit sector uneven in impact and recovery, report finds | Philanthropy news

While nonprofits have contributed significantly to U.S. society and economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health of the sector is uneven in both impact and recovery, a new report from Independent Sector finds.

Based on aggregated survey and research data from multiple sources in four categories — financial resources, human capital, governance and trust, and public policy and advocacy — the second edition of the Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector (43 pages, PDF) found that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic varied by subsector and organization size, with arts organizations and those that rely on fees for service hit especially hard. Yet, even as 40 percent of nonprofits saw declines in total revenue and all subsectors except social services saw drops in gross output, the sector contributed 5.9 percent of GDP in 2020 — up 0.4 percentage points from 2019. And while 57 percent of nonprofits cut overall expenses, 64 percent suspended services, 44 percent reduced the number of programs or services, and 47 percent reported serving fewer people in 2020, Independent Sector’s Trust in Civil Society survey found that, as of early 2021, 57 percent of surveyed Americans had received nonprofit services and 84 percent expressed confidence in the ability of nonprofits to strengthen American society, up 3 percentage points from 2020.

According to the report, the sector’s advocacy efforts in 2020 helped secure notable federal resources that served as financial lifelines to nonprofits, particularly through the Paycheck Protection Program, payroll tax credits, and temporary universal charitable deduction. In addition, a study by Nonprofit VOTE found that voter engagement efforts helped reach underrepresented communities and narrow participation gaps.

The report outlines recommendations in each category to strengthen the sector, including prioritizing flexible funding, developing a shared understanding of equitable financing, promoting evidence-based practices to close workforce diversity and equity gaps, building capacity of virtual volunteering, improving the quality and depth of metrics for equity and “healthy” governance, improving digital access and literacy, and establishing public policy advocacy as a core competency of nonprofit management and governance.

“We have much to do to build the nation we, as changemakers, dream of becoming,” wrote Independent Sector president and CEO Dan Cardinali in the report’s foreword. “What can galvanize us to greater positive action? It’s that the everlasting human qualities of resilience, kindness, and collaborating for collective progress do not fade easily. They are within our grasp every day, giving all of us hope and confidence. The health of our nation is the sum of the richness and diversity of our members and sectors working together, elevating dignity, honoring our differences, and building for the common good.”

(Photo credit: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank)

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