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Any company, large or small, will know that protecting reputation and avoiding issues of legal liability are things that can not be taken seriously enough. Responsible businesses often have common processes in place that check and monitor a range of activities and stakeholders, whether it be background checks on new employees, or ensuring compliance of new suppliers. Why? — To protect the business’ reputation and to minimise any potential risks they or their employees are exposed to.

You should take the same approach when assessing your charity partnerships.

With the continued rise of CSR-minded initiatives, and its basic tenets and practices established as a virtual norm among business, charities are playing a larger role in corporations than ever before. This can come in the form of official partnerships, where charities and companies join together publicly to work on a shared cause, as well as in the form of the millions that is donated through payroll, fundraised by employees, and matched by corporations every year, and distributed to thousands of charities, large and small.

While this is, of course, fantastic, the charity sector is in fact one of the least regulated. Charities themselves often fall victim to fraud and embezzlement, but are also sometimes used as a front for dubious or even illegal ‘fundraising’. As a recent BBC article examines, it’s often difficult to be sure you know where you’re money is going. As a responsible employer, it is your duty to ensure that when dealing with charities you are taking the precautionary steps to avoid any wrong doing and support for undesirable organisations.

Make sure you know who you’re dealing with.

First, and most importantly, make sure know who you are dealing with. To ensure a charity is a legitimate organisation, carry out verification checks on the charity and all the key personnel associated with the organisation, at a minimum. Background checks should be carried out on a regular basis to ensure that all the information you hold is up to date and accurate.

Finding the resources to do this internally can be a challenge, so when looking for a vetting partner, make sure to find one that specialises in vetting charitable organisations, rather than a general business due diligence service. There’s some overlap, but they’re not the same thing.

Make sure your employees are safe when working with a charity.

A separate but nonetheless important factor in ensuring your relationship with charities is all above board is by overseeing the interactions the charity has with your employees. Employees will often be volunteering their time and working with the charity offsite, so as a responsible employer you must make sure relevant risk assessments are carried out, and ensure the charities you work with are complying with health and safety regulations. Protecting your employees will pay off, too. Creating a safe volunteering environment will only encourage further volunteering.

Things to remember:

  1. You should take as much care over ensuring the legitimacy of the charities you work with as you do with your employees and suppliers.
  2. Checks should be carried out on the charity itself and all key personnel, and should be done regularly to ensure information is up to date.
  3. You should ensure that appropriate risk assessments have been done for activities your employees engage in with a charity.

Following these three tips will ensure your charity partnerships are relationships you can be proud of.

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