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At Fujitsu, I have come to understand the true potential and impact of working in partnership with a charity to generate social value.

My experience at Fujitsu has taught me that we can make the most impact on society when we apply our technology and digital expertise to help others do what they do, even better.

There are a myriad of benefits to be gained from the corporate/charity partnership, from employee and stakeholder engagement to simply having fun and raising money for a good cause. These benefits are well documented. For me, as the CEO of one of the UK’s largest ICT companies, it’s also about much more. It’s about how we use ALL our expertise to do more good.

This learning informed the basis of the Fujitsu Shelter Charity Partnership and I am delighted to share the headlines from our journey together.

We started as we would with any client. What were Shelter’s ambitions? What was keeping their CEO awake at night?

 

 

The last three years were the most challenging economic, political and social environment in Shelter’s history. Household budgets were under pressure with an average debt of £28,968 per UK adult as of November 2014[1]. Alongside this, the squeeze on public spending means the security of people’s homes was less certain every day.

To address this, Shelter set these two core objectives in their three-year strategy.

  1. Increase the organisation’s capacity to fundraise, generating more independent income so that it can continue to provide help where it is needed most
  2. Improve business efficiency and raise funds to increase the number of Shelter shops over the next three years, enabling the charity to grow its independent income and integrate their shops with its service hubs.

How could Fujitsu help Shelter to tackle these operational issues?

The first stage of the partnership was to assess the charity’s retail operations from both a business and technology perspective, which is fundamentally what we would do for a client. We also looked at where else our skills base and solutions could add value to Shelter.

We worked closely with the Shelter team to agree the following four focus areas, forming the basis of our strategic plan:

  • ICT. Using Fujitsu’s ICT expertise to modernise Shelter’s systems and increase profitability
  • HR. Skills sharing and extending Fujitsu training opportunities to Shelter staff
  • Fundraising and volunteering. Engaging Fujitsu employees and partners to raise funds and volunteer time to support Shelter
  • Marketing. Raising Shelter’s brand profile and highlighting the partnership with Fujitsu partners

The solutions subsequently deployed included front-office Point of Sale tills, back-office PCs, and accessories for all Shelter stores. The aim of this was to ensure all systems at the retail end were linked and working together seamlessly – helping Shelter staff cut time spent on administrative tasks and improve operational efficiency. We also enabled a new relationship between our partner, Juniper, and Shelter, to provide network connectivity across these stores.

To ensure the success of the partnership, we hired a new Head of Charity Partnerships to manage the relationship and ensure targets were met.     

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How did we measure impact?

The partnership has enabled Shelter to achieve sustainable efficiencies that will transform their retail network and significantly increase income.  Initial impact includes the following, and full details can be found in the Fujitsu Shelter Charity Partnership Impact Report :

  • Combined savings that will allow Shelter to reach an additional 37,000 families
  • A 13% Gift Aid increase that will result in a net cash contribution of £400,000 over four years
  • Increased staff efficiencies and processes that will save Shelter a minimum of £53,639 over three years
  • £350,000 raised in cash by Fujitsu employees, enabling the opening of nine new retail stores

While Gift Aid represents a substantial source of revenue for Shelter, the process was historically handled via paper forms, manually managed by volunteers in each shop. We implemented new software to automate this process that will not only remove risk but also grow profitability for the charity year-on-year, increasing Gift Aid uptake from 10% to 23%.

In addition to the financial benefits, Shelter also saw significant non-financial benefits from the retail transformation programme, including a much clearer 360-degree view of its supporters and donations. This enabled enhanced reporting, giving greater transparency and additional customer insight. There has also been an increase in supporter retention resulting from improvements in audience targeting and communications.

So we achieved a great deal, we used our core business to do more good, AND we had a great deal of fun.  Our employees are proud of the partnership and we know we have made a difference. This is why I believe that creating a powerful collaborative partnership with a charity yields so many benefits, not all of which you have to quantify, but as CEO you know exist.

This is why a charity partnership forms part of our overall responsible business approach.  It keeps our corporate world connected to the communities we serve.  The Fujitsu Shelter Charity Partnership was a great experience for all parties and has informed the planning for our latest partnership, with Action for Children.

[1] http://themoneycharity.org.uk/money-statistics/

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