The value exchange in sponsoring social action projects

The value exchange in sponsoring social action projects

One benefit of sponsorship that we feel is gaining momentum and we are particularly keen to explore is demonstrating CSR (corporate social responsibility) and social value. Many typical sponsorships have CSR benefits which are embraced by brands especially when partnering with sports or arts rights holders. However, the CSR benefits are a by-product of the partnership itself.

We are seeing brands take a more active and committed approach, putting social value at the heart of certain partnerships. By working directly with Community Interest Companies (CICs) they offer much needed support, resource, funding and expertise to social action projects that add real value to the communities they operate within.

One great example is Wickes who partner with the Volunteer It Yourself programme which gets young people involved in local renovation projects. The young apprentices are trained by Wickes trade customers as mentors and leave the programme with skills and a qualification. Wickes supply tools and materials, giving every new trainee their own toolkit and also supply experienced tradesmen as mentors.

The community benefits from local sports stadiums, youth clubs and arts centres being renovated to get them up and running, and serving the community again. But what do brands get from being so directly involved in projects like this?

According to the Small Business Consortium, 88% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company who supports and engages in activities to improve society. There are huge benefits to brand perception, which may equate to sales. Wickes can measure the added sales generated from their involvement, they build stronger relationships with trade customers and by an involvement with high profile local projects they get repeat custom as a result of the project. But here are some of the other reasons why your brand should get involved in a social action project:


I’m not just talking about a campaign or press release distributed by a PR agency. Social action projects are ongoing, giving you a huge amount of content creation and distribution opportunities across digital channels. Keeping a blog, You Tube channel, Twitter feed, Facebook page up to speed with developments gives you a reason to engage with your customers and potential customers. It’s about tangible real world outcomes.

Brand differentiation

In competitive, ‘noisy’ markets, this can be a way to cut through and give your brand a point of difference. Social action projects can shift and improve perception and galvanise employees, customers and stakeholders.


If the data above is correct then it should have a positive impact of sales, and perhaps measurably in the communities you are supporting.

Employee engagement and recruitment

These projects are great for employees and internal teams to get involved in. The feel good factor is great for morale, team building and engagement, but also good for attracting new and retaining existing talent. Social purpose is a strong motivation.

So for brands seeking a cost effective way of building a relevant sustainable brand, whilst helping the communities you work within, I encourage you to talk to CICs, local community groups, and find a cause to get involved with to make a difference. Hopefully by understanding that it isn’t simply a charitable donation, that there is a meaningful value exchange will stimulate action and engagement.

These are some of the projects we are helping currently……but there are so many great causes making a real difference:

Links Chicken Town – a project with “Create” to put together a not-for-profit social enterprise serving up delicious fried chicken with a healthier twist in Tottenham….. VIY combines volunteering and DIY by challenging young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and building skills, on the job, by committing to fix local youth club and community centre buildings in need of essential repairs. The School of Confidence A fabulous project for older children as part of the Kids Company ESSA – Enterprising Student Society Accreditation scheme recognizes and rewards enterprising activity of students within UK University societies. 91% of UK universities and the scheme is marketed to 1.8m students each year. Fee Free Giving… seeking corporate partners to help increase brand awareness and build the platform and users.

Karen Morris
Karen Morris
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