What NGOs should know about approaching corporations

By Adva Saldinger 07 January 2014

Corporations are regularly, often daily, approached by NGOs looking to partner on projects or get donations through corporate social responsibility programs.

So what makes an organization stand out? Jackie Montesinos Suarez, head of corporate social responsibility for SAP shares her advice.

“I always tell nonprofits that want to build a long-term partnership with us that sometimes we’ve got to focus on the ‘quick’ wins — so let’s do a service activity together, let’s engage our employees, let’s do a team build with a big group of our workforce and see how that goes and build from that,” she said.

Often engaging employees will get the workforce rallied around the cause and an early win can drive momentum around a project, cause or organization, Montesinos Suarez said.

The company will often be open to finding creative ways to partner or support organizations. For instance, its “social sabbatical” skills-based volunteerism program, which is now in its second year, sends small groups of employees to Brazil, China, South Africa or India to work with local NGOs to solve business challenges.

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About the author

Adva Saldinger@AdvaSal

As a Devex Impact associate editor, Adva leads coverage of the intersection of business and international development. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, she enjoys exploring the role the private sector and private capital play in development. Previously, she has worked as a reporter at newspapers in both the U.S. and South Africa. Most recently, she has been ghostwriting a memoir for a former child slave and NGO founder in Ghana.

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