Tesco’s Jenna Hall on the future of multi-party charity partnerships

Tesco National Charity Partnership programme director Jenna Hall tells Marketing Week how its tie-up with Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation came about, and why more NGOs should take the multi-party approach.


As Marketing Week reports this week, C&E Advisory’s annual survey on corporate and charity partnerships has found an increase in collaborations between three or more parties. Almost two-thirds of respondents are involved in a ‘consortium’ like this, while three-quarters of charity executives say the approach will become more important in the next three years.

Tesco’s new tie-up with Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation is one example, which has already earned itself the distinction of being the UK’s joint-third most admired partnership. We asked Tesco National Charity Partnership programme director Jenna Hall to explain the background and the benefits behind it.

How did the partnership between Tesco, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation materialise?

Tesco was really clear that it wanted to remodel its approach to ‘charity of the year’ partnerships to become more collaborative and longer-term, to enable more strategic involvement in every aspect of the programme from design through to delivery and decision making.

There are some great opportunities given the similarities around the risk factors of both type-2 diabetes and heart disease so bringing these partners together with a corporate giant like Tesco it’s a chance for all three to really build and work to together.

Is there scope to involve more charities as the partnership progresses?

This is designed as a three-year partnership between these three organisations but as part of our delivery we are working with local partners in certain communities to help us achieve our goals.

What are the benefits of creating a three-way agreement?

From a marketing and communications perspective being able to work through the existing channels of three well-established brands is brilliant. We can really benefit from the reach and scope of all three partners, particularly as brand recognition across all three is high already. Tesco’s in-store presence is also something that each of the charities will really benefit from over the lifetime of the partnership.

What do you hope to achieve through the partnership?

Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the number of people at risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. We’re developing a national social marketing campaign that is targeted very specifically at mums aged 25 to 40. We’re also developing programmes in nine communities across the UK and individual family support programmes in a further six areas.

We’re taking a tiered approach across the three years, which gives us real scope to look at things strategically. Having that time to recruit and establish the team while working really collaboratively with each of the partners to define the best possible programme and engage our target audience is going to be a real blessing.

Can you see more charity partnerships of this type being developed?

It is definitely advantageous to bring together mixed skillsets and professional backgrounds. Certainly this partnership is a great opportunity for the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Tesco to come together and I believe it is the way forward for charity partnerships. We will be able to achieve things that we wouldn’t be able to if we acted as single organisations.

Given government cut-backs, how important will corporate partnerships be for charities going forward?

I think they’re incredibly important. The fundraising aspect is an essential component but actually the expertise both parties can benefit from and what they can learn from one another is also hugely valuable. There is great potential in using corporate partners’ channels in terms of communication and learning how best to connect with target audiences and how to engage the public, for example.

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