Choosing Your Partner Charity

8 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Partner Charity

updated February 15, 2017

Muhammad Ali once wrote, “Community service is the rent we pay for our room here on earth.”  In the spirit of “every little bit helps,”  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is important, regardless of the size of your business.  That’s why many brands look to partner with a charity.

You may have a charity in mind, but your PR team can help you get the most out of what you give through presence and alignment.  Furthermore, they may have worked with these charities in the past or know their past work well from a media audit or similar connection.

Sure, every charity is a worthy cause, but there are questions you should answer before choosing one (or more) charity.  We also recommend using Charity Navigator, as you vet out your options.

To start:

  1. Do I want to spread my donations to many different charities throughout the year or focus on a sole partner? It depends on if your goal is to develop a deep relationship with a Charity, or if you would prefer to align yourself with several causes.
  2. Is their cause something around which my company and employees can rally? If there’s something that your coworkers are passionate about, you will not only get the best results from your campaign, but also make people excited to come to work.
  3. Does this charity’s donor base match my target customer base? Remember: you represent your customers as well. Make sure you choose a charity they could also get behind.
  4. Is this charity like my company: a well-oiled machine? You want the relationship between the charity’s representatives and your company’s representatives to be smooth. It’s not a good sign if details get lost in translation.
  5. Do they keep their web site fresh? This can be a good sign of their activity. If their website isn’t up to date, check for Social Media outlets. Some charities focus on raising donations through shares and comments.
  6. Are they willing to include links and logos for my company in charity promotional materials online and in print?  You want to make sure your partnership can be public. Your customers deserve to know what your company invests in.
  7. Do they hold events and fundraisers in which my company can get involved? When your employees can be the boots on the ground for the charity, it strengthens the partnership.
  8. Are they fairly well-known or on a growth spurt? If they’re on a growth spurt, consider how your partnership can help that growth continue.


Once you have weighed all the options, you want to make sure you document your involvement with the charity. Share with your followers the work that you do together. Check out what Hilton does with their Global Month of Service.


The PR Specialist behind this post is Alison Walsh.

Leah Eder contributed to this post.

  • With my line of work, environmental consulting/design, I selected a charity based on several criteria.
    1. Promotion of sustainable practices.
    2. Locally based.
    3. The founder has passion.

    I chose ReBuild Alexandria. They train people how to do “green” jobs. They are having a direct impact on the community without going though loops of several agencies. As I start to donate 1% of my earnings to them, I will have established a great relationship and know that my money is going back into the community and that the training is not a hand out, but is “teaching people how to fish.”

    December 5, 2009 at 5:57 pm

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