(Version July 2002)
Commercial partnership: Any partnership between a charity and a commercial company whereby the charity endorses a product or agrees to allow the use of its logo in return for a benefit (usually financial). Throughout this report we refer to a commercial "company"; however, it should be noted that a partnership could also be with an individual e.g. a sole trader. Some common examples of partnerships are below.
Examples of Commercial Partnership.
Cause-related marketing/joint promotional venture
The charity plays an integral part in the marketing of the company's image, product or service. The company seeks to establish a link in people's minds between the company and the charity's cause.
The charity gives the company a licence to use the charity's name and/or logo in selling a product or a service.
Includes a wide range of commercial products, the best known being charity Christmas cards.
A company, in effect, pays a charity to publicise the company and the fact that it has contributed to the charity. The company agrees to meet some or all of the costs of, for instance, one of the charity's publications, projects or fund-raising events.
Commercial participator is defined by section 58 (1) of the Charities Act 1992. A commercial participator is any person who carries on for gain a business which is not fund-raising business but who in the course of that business engages in any promotional venture (i.e. any advertising or sales campaign or any other venture undertaken for promotional purposes) in the course of which it is represented that contributions are to be given to or applied for the benefit of a charity.
Professional fund-raiser is defined by section 58 (1) of the Charities Act 1992 and is any person (apart from the charitable institution or a company connected with such an institution) who carries on a fund-raising business for gain which is wholly or primarily engaged in soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property for charitable purposes; or any other person who solicits for reward money or other property for charity apart from:
Small, Medium, Large, Very large charity
There are many resources which charity trustees can tap into to help them with commercial partnership issues. While this is not a definitive list of all the sources of information available, it does offer an overview and is useful as a starting point. The publications listed in Annex C may also be useful.
These organisations can provide you with a wide range of help, support and information.
Our website offers a wide range of easily accessible online services, tools, information and guidance. Before contacting us for advice or help you might like to search our online database of frequently asked questions. Most people can find the answer they need without making a phone call or writing an email. Alternatively, our Contacting us page is linked to from the top and bottom of every webpage.
Deals with complaints about printed advertisements and provides free information about promotions established to benefit charities.
Advertising Standards Authority
2 Torrington Place
BiTC is a movement of companies committed to continually improving their positive impact on society. BiTC have a wide range of services and information, especially in connection with cause related marketing.
137 Shepherdess Walk
London N1 7RQ
Tel: 0870 600 2482
BCC is a charity dedicated to helping other charities obtain more support from business.
London SW18 1UU
Tel: 020 8875 5700
CAF helps non-profit organisations in the UK and overseas to increase, manage and administer their resources.
Kent ME19 4TA
Tel: 01732 520000
Fax: 01732 520001
CDFG provides information for its members on a wide range of issues and specialises in helping charities to manage their accounting, taxation, audit and other finance related functions.
Charity Finance Directors Group
87-89 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7TP
Telephone: 020 7793 1400
Fax: 020 7793 1600
The Directory promotes positive social change and provides a wide range of resources for trustees.
Tel (books): 020 7209 5151
Tel (training and events): London 020 7209 4949 & Liverpool 0151 708 0117
Taining and Events: e-mail (London)
For information relating to VAT queries refer to your local telephone directory for the contact details. General information is available from:
Tel: 0845 0109000
For information on tax issues relating to charities.
St John's House
Merseyside L69 9BB
Tel: 0151 472 6046 (trading enquiries)
0151 472 6036 (general enquiries)
The Institute of Fundraising aims to promote the highest standards of fund-raising practice. They have developed a code of practice for commercial partnerships.
1 Nine Elms Street
London SW8 5NQ
Tel: 020 7627 3436
Information available on fund-raising and governance issues and a range of general support services.
National Council for Voluntary Organisations
8 All Saints Street
London N1 9RL
Tel: 020 7713 6161
WCVA supports charities and the voluntary sector in Wales.
Mount Stewart Square
Tel: 029 20431700
The following publications often cover fund-raising issues, including charities and partnerships with commercial partners.
Tel: 020 7819 1200
Mitre House Publishing
The Clifton Centre
110 Clifton Street
London EC2A 4HD
Tel: 020 7426 0496/0123
Provides an overview and round-up of current issues largely through case studies.
Fax: 020 7945 6138
Published three times a year by the Directory of Social Change (DSC).
The Society section in Wednesday's edition of The Guardian is particularly useful.
Tel: 020 8709 9050
Contact NCVO for details - see above.
The following publications are a good starting point for trustees who want more information about fund-raising through commercial partnerships with companies. A more detailed list of books and other publications can be found in the Bibliography.
Adkins, S. Using cause related marketing, Charities Management, Spring 2000.
Bates, Wells & Braithwaite/Centre for Voluntary Sector Development, (2000) The fundraisers guide to the law, Directory of Social Change, London.
Botting, N and Norton, M. (2001), The Complete Fundraising Handbook, Directory of Social Change, London.
Business Community Connections (2001), Business Community Partnerships: Fact or fiction? Business Community Connections, London.
Business in the Community (1998), The cause related marketing guidelines, Business in the Community, London.
Canning, V. (1999), A practical guide to fundraising and public relations, ICSA Publishing, London.
Carnie, C. (2000) Find the funds - a new approach to fundraising research, Directory of Social Change, London.
Charity Commission (2000), Charities and trading (CC35), Charity Commission, London.
Charity Commission (2000), Charities and Fund-raising (CC20), Charity Commission, London.
Charity Commission (2000), Avoiding donor disgust, Charity Commission presentation, London.
Charity Commission (2000), Fund-raising and charities, Charity Commission presentation, London.
Charity Commission. Commercial participators and Christmas Cards, in Charity Commission News, Issue 3, Autumn 1995.
Charity Commission, Fund-raising using commercial participators and fund-raising businesses, in Charity Commission News, Issue 5, Autumn 1996.
Charity Commission. Fund-raising, in Charity Commission News, Issue 7, Autumn 1997.
Coe, D. Spanking new brand, in ThirdSector, 4 October 2001.
Dabson, B (ed.) (1991), Company Giving in Europe, Directory of Social Change, London.
Elischer, T. (1995) Teach yourself fundraising, Hodder & Staughton, London.
Epstein, S. (1998), Licensing Deals for Charity Christmas Cards, Charities Advisory Trust.
Fishel, D. (1993), The arts sponsorship handbook, Directory of Social Change, London.
Gibson, A. Charity at a price, in The Times, October 13 2001.
Gilchrist, K. (2000), Looking after your Donors, Directory of Social Change, London.
Griffiths, J. Companies and the second term: the voluntary sector, Community Affairs Briefing, April/May 2001.
Hazell, R and Whybrew, T. (1997) Resourcing the Voluntary Sector the funders perspective, Association of Charitable Foundations, London.
Hind, A. (1995) The Governance and management of charities, The Voluntary Sector Press, High Barnet.
Home Office Voluntary and Community Unit (1995), Charitable fund-raising: professional and commercial involvement, The Stationary Office, London.
Hudson, M. (1999) Managing without profit, 2nd Edn, Penguin, London.
Inland Revenue (2001) Trading by Charities - Clubs and Charities Series IR2001, Inland Revenue.
Lawrence, J. Invest in the future with WWF in Sponsorship News, Vol 20, Issue 7, July 2001.
Leat, D. (1989) Fund-raising and grant making: A case study of ITV Telethon ‘88, Charities Aid Foundation, Kent.
Logan, D. (1994) Transnational giving - an introduction to the corporate citizenship activity of international companies operating in Europe, Directory of Social Change, London.
McCurry, P. Givers, Takers in The Guardian/Society, 12 May 2001.
Morton, V. (1999) Corporate fundraising, Charities Aid Foundation, Kent.
National Center for Non-Profit Boards, Choose for-profit partners wisely,. Board Member, Vol 8, No 3, March 1999.
NCVO (1999) The Good Trustee Guide, NCVO, London.
NCVO (1991) Finding Funds, NCVO, London.
Picarda, H. (1995) The law and practice relating to charities, 2nd Ed., Butterworths, London.
Pollock, L, More than a cheque, in Voluntary Sector, June 2001.
Ramrayka, L. Charities go on-line with big-name partner in The Guardian/Society, 22 October 2001.
Rowell, A. Sleeping with the enemy, in BBC Wildlife, August 2001.
Sawyer, P. Diana marge? Just think of the charity cash says Flora, in the Evening Standard, 23 March 1998.
Smallwood, J. Harnessing cause related marketing, in Charities Management, Autumn 2000.
Sweatman, S. Fundraising is about relationships, in Charities Management, Summer 2001.
Tweedy, C. Bringing the arts to work, Community Affairs Briefing, February/March 2001.
Villemur, A. (1996) Applying to a grant making trust - a guide for fund-raisers, Charities Aid Foundation, Kent.
Vintner, L, Take your partners, in Voluntary Sector, June 2001.
Warburton, J (1995) Tudor on Charities, 8th Ed., Sweet & Maxwell, London.
Wells, C (2000) Finding Company Sponsors, 1st Ed., Directory of Social Change, London.
We would like to thank everyone who has co-operated in the production of this report, especially the charities that gave their time to speak to our staff.
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