The key to sustaining long term CSR partnerships

SSE has built and sustained several multiyear strategic partnerships with organisations including PwC, Linklaters, Royal Sun Alliance and Lloyds Banking Group. These partnerships have generated unprecedented growth in our delivery of learning programmes for social entrepreneurs and subsequently increased our social impact to heights we could have never previously imagined.

For SSE, the key components to long lasting partnerships include; building relationships at multiple levels, open (and frequent) dialogue, understanding our partners business & brand and a clear understanding of each stakeholder’s objectives- both mutual and organisation specific.

In our experience cross sector partnerships are about much more than money, they bring multiple openings for staff development, enhanced staff motivation and provide access to contacts who we would otherwise not be able to reach. Through CSR partnerships SSE has benefitted from a fantastic new office space within PwCs innovative Firestation hub, help hosting and running events, increased capacity though seconded staff and a number of invaluable introductions.

At SSE we’ve found that the foundations for resourceful partnerships lie in engaging individuals from varied levels of seniority. You will invariably build a relationship with the CSR lead or representative through the development of the partnership and it’s very important to nurture this relationship once the partnership is established. It’s also extremely valuable to engage with senior figures where ever possible. Although time poor, senior figures have the greatest influence when it comes down to decision making and they will also be privy to the best contacts.

At SSE mentoring opportunities also allow us to engage a high number of managerial staff from within all of our strategic partner organisations. This is mutually beneficial; our students get access to a commercially minded mentor who is able to act as a sounding board for new ideas and challenge their thinking and the mentor finds value working closely with an impact driven start up entrepreneur. This relationship can motivate, inspire and act as a forum for fresh ideas and problem solving- all of which can be translated back into the workplace.

When you’re working together it’s also important to remember it’s a partnership, call on your partner if you need help or advice, ultimately you’re working towards the same objectives so when success is achieved, the glory is shared.

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