A 2004 Cone study on corporate citizenship suggests a positive effect when NGOs partner with corporations, but according to a post on Intel’s blog, some non-profit’s reputations have been tarnished by for-profit partnerships due to the low level of trust in the corporate partner.
So do people trust all corporations equally?
According to Edelman’s 2008 “Trustometer,” based on a survey of North American opinion elites on how much they trust business to do what’s right, over 58 percent responded yes, but with widely varied responses by industry.
Intel’s Luke Filose says frameworks can only take companies so far. He recommends leaders of businesses and NGOs who are planning partnerships to look at industry position, scope of work, timing, history, political environment, stakeholder overlap, and many other factors to find out what reputational impacts could be in store. Filose adds that once both organizations are satisfied that they will be rewarded and not ruin their reputation through the partnership, then they can get back to making an impact on social responsibility.
But according to Edelman’s corporate responsibility and sustainability communications report in February, transparency in communications is a key indicator of a socially responsible company – more important than philanthropy or NGO partnerships.