CSR Partnerships: A Win Win 14th March, 2019

In January, Slingshot wrote a blog predicting that – amongst other things – CSR Partnerships will play a bigger part in the sponsorship industry for 2019. This was highlighted by Sky pulling their sponsorship of Team Sky in favour of increasing their efforts with Sky Ocean Rescue. It was widely speculated that Sky made this decision to target a younger demographic: millennial and gen Z purchase intention is influenced by brand’s philanthropy and purpose more than any other generation.

Beyond purchase intention sponsorship can be a tool to make real change, whether that be on an organisational level, or worldwide. Not only that, CSR partnerships provide a whole host of other benefits. Below Slingshot breaks down 3 key benefits of cause related sponsorship, and how they can be achieved.



  • Employee

CSR Initiatives provide an excellent platform for employee engagement. Whether it be cleaning beaches, building schools in underprivileged countries or caring for abandoned animals. Through sponsorship of charities, companies benefit by not only decreasing the time and resource they’d have to dedicate by creating their own initiative but also by increasing employee satisfaction through allowing employees to volunteer, fundraise and support initiatives that have meaning.

  • Client

What better way of communicating that your company has a cause than sharing it with clients? Being able to host clients, or potential clients at events like Sport Relief is a huge advantage over competitors with run-of-the-mill corporate hospitality programs, particularly as corporate transparency and CSR has been shown to encourage loyal and trusting client relationships.



Most brands have CSR, whether those initiatives be: plastic pollution, reduction in carbon emissions or commitment to equality there will be the perfect platform or charity to align with to amplify impact. Sky Ocean Rescue, their own initiative to prevent ocean-plastic pollution, teamed up with Project 0 a global marine charity for the #PassOnPlastic campaign to produce co-branded merchandise through Project 0’s ambassador network. As previously mentioned, charity partnerships can provide fantastic PR and marketing footprints for brands. In this case: Sky got access to numerous celebrity ambassadors who are usually near-impossible to reach and in return Project 0 received 25% of all proceeds from the merchandise sales, to go towards their goal of putting 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030. A win-win.



Climate change and consumers are causing companies to re-think how the produce, distribute and use their goods, and sustainability has become a driver for innovation. Levi’s make jeans that use up to 96% less water in the manufacturing process and Adidas have started to make trainers from recycled plastic. Here’s the kicker: both products came from cause related partnerships driven by consumers. By forming strategic partnerships with not-for-profits, corporation can produce new products that not only save the planet but save their profit margin too. Imagine the money Levi’s are saving on their water bill!


Cause-related partnerships – if maximized – are a fantastic strategic tool for solving supply and manufacturing issues, saving money, raising money, and for reaping a whole host of promotional benefits along the way. They make good business sense; It’s just an added bonus that partnerships can be used in corporate communications and marketing to make consumers engage more. On a more sombre note: corporations are often the cause of environmental and social issues, such as fast fashion with child labour and carbon emissions and Oil corporations for most environmental issues. Therefore, these corporations should be investing in cause related partnerships, to help mitigate the negative effects they are having on the earth.

Charity Sponsorship: Change your mindset – change your fortunes 21st August, 2018

Charity partnerships have shown they can be extremely effective when done right; you only have to look at partnerships between LEGO and WFF, Pampers and Unicef and the I am Shaquem Griffin video, which shook the internet to see this. But for many years, there has seemed to be a reluctance to maximise charity sponsorships.

In the digital age, modern high-level sponsorships have formed a crucial component of the strategic marketing mix, but it could be argued that CSR focussed sponsorships have seemingly been behind the curve. Although in recent times there has been a noticeable shift in CSR sponsorships, Slingshot believes that more can be done so that brands and charities can harness each other for a greater mutual gain.

Charities have the potential to offer brands so much more than CSR alone. In many cases, charities can offer everything that a normal rights holder can: brand awareness, experiential opportunities, direct sales, digital marketing and access to high-profile ambassadors. On top of this, CSR partnerships offer great client hospitality opportunities, and are generally linked to internal stakeholder and employee satisfaction. However, for more charities and brands to take advantage of these benefits, attitudes to these types of partnerships need to change.

Changing the Charity Mindset

Firstly, the charities themselves need to realise their commercial potential. Historically, charities have fallen into the trap of leading with a philanthropic pitch when in-front of brands rather than showcasing the value of a sponsorship deal. Charities are so unique and varied that they have assets and activation opportunities that many properties cannot offer, so charities must invest in the understanding of their audience, realising their USP and harnessing this for their commercial benefit. Additionally, we stress that charities need to be proactive! To get sponsors, you can’t wait for the proposals to come to you, you need to make them yourselves.

Changing the Brand Mindset

Attitudes of brands need to adjust too. There’s generally a timid behaviour towards charities: ‘we have to do this for goodwill, but we can’t use this as a commercial opportunity’… Of course, you can! Charities want to work with relevant brands to create value for their audience just like a music festival or sports team does. Being actively involved in a sponsorship that has a strong fit with your demographic will create value for the charities consumers and help your brand reach a more holistic set of objectives. This will lead to a more authentic long-term relationship, which will be far more effective than simply donating to a goodwill cause.

One charity that is following our approach is Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK). We spoke with Ramon Smits, the charity’s Business Development Manager, to understand what they think sets them apart and what their advice for other charities is: “MDUK understands that charities usually represent an opportunity for corporate philanthropy, but in recent times we have realised the commercial value of our own brand. We are the leading charity for muscle wasting diseases, which is a great title for partners to align themselves with! Through Slingshot, we have understood how to use our unique assets to boost our sponsorship revenue. We believe that other charities can benefit massively from truly understanding who their audience is and what they could offer potential partners; knowing that is vital to showcase your value and attract sponsorship!”

Slingshot can help with any enquiries about sponsorship. If taking your sponsorship strategy seriously is of interest to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

The Cateran Yomp – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s ultimate challenge! 13th June, 2017

Slingshot has been selected by the Army’s national charity to provide valuation and long-term commercial direction for The Cateran Yomp.

Entering its 7th year, The Cateran Yomp is an epic trek where teams of 3-6 people take on 54 miles in 24 hours across the rugged terrain of the Scottish wilderness, pushing both mind and body to the limit. The Yomp brings together unsung heroes from the UK and overseas, with participants ranging from elite athletes to first timers, the young and the old in a unique environment fostering terrific camaraderie.

The event has raised over £2.4m and has been sponsored by the likes of Sainsburys, Alliance Trust, HSBC, Thomson Reuters, PWC and notable others since its inception in 2011.

Bernie Critchley, Events Manager – Bespoke Events & Sponsorship states:

“It was really useful getting Slingshot Sponsorship to do a valuation on the Cateran Yomp, and give us advice on sponsorship packages, so we knew that we were pitching it at the right level. The proposal that they designed for us was excellent, and was perfect to send to our prospects. The team were very friendly, professional and easy to work with throughout the whole process.”

Sam Howell, Head of New Business, Slingshot Sponsorship said:

“We’re delighted to provide sponsorship support to such an inspiring charity and a team of passionate individuals to help them make the most of the commercial potential of The Cateran Yomp”

The Cateran Yomp takes place this weekend, 10 -11 June 2017.

Muscular Dystrophy UK appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to drive commercial strategy 5th April, 2016

Slingshot Sponsorship today announce their new client, Muscular Dystrophy UK. Slingshot has been selected by the charity to help drive new commercial relationships and a long term strategy.

Muscular Dystrophy UK, founded in 1959, supports and helps bring together people affected by more than 60 rare and very rare progressive muscle-weakening and wasting conditions.

Rebecca Day, Director of Development for Muscular Dystrophy UK says:

“For Muscular Dystrophy UK, research is at a critical stage requiring a real acceleration in investment; along with all we want to accomplish in providing ongoing support for families living with these devastating muscle-wasting conditions.  Wholly reliant on voluntary income, we are keen to take a thorough and proactive approach to identify and maximize the potential of commercial partnerships to meet our goals. Slingshot responded to our brief with a perfect blend of energy and passion for the project, coupled with evident and demonstrable expertise. We are extremely excited to see what we can achieve by working together.”

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship said of the new partnership, “We’re delighted to be working with such a well-renowned British charity to help them make the most of the commercial benefit to their research and income streams.”


Slingshot Sponsorship signs Carphone Warehouse as Headline Partner of Award-Winning Spring Online Campaign 22nd January, 2014

After the success of last year’s partnership, Digital Unite has announced that Carphone Warehouse will again act as Headline Partner for Spring Online, one of the UK’s leading digital inclusion campaigns which will run from 31st March – 4th April 2014.

Around 7 million people across the UK have never used the internet, of which just over 6 million are aged over 55 years. Many more can’t do basic online tasks such as send an email or browse the web.

Since 2002, Digital Unite’s Spring Online campaign has sought to inspire people, particularly older people, to achieve a lasting use of the internet by supporting volunteers and organisations to hold hundreds of free internet taster events across the UK.  Last year around 1,000 Spring Online events were held helping over 20,000 people to get online.

The successful partnership between Carphone Warehouse and Spring Online 2013 saw a number of Carphone Warehouse stores actively participate in the campaign with their own Spring Online events.   One store in particular, Carphone Warehouse Billericay , received a Spring Online 2013 Best Event Award for its enthusiasm and commitment to the initiative as the in-store team hosted their event on a Sunday when the store is normally closed.  Such was the success and interest by local people that the Billericay store has continued to remain open one Sunday every month to help more people learn about digital technology.

Kesah Trowell, CSR Lead at Carphone Warehouse said “Getting to grips with technology can be daunting for many older people yet they can have the most to gain, whether it’s keeping in touch with friends and family, internet shopping and banking or finding out about community events and activities. At Carphone Warehouse we’ve been guiding people through the complexities of the connected world for 25 years and are keen to share our knowledge and experience to help combat digital and social exclusion”.

Now in its 13th year, the Spring Online campaign has been instrumental in successfully helping tens of thousands of people make technology a part of their everyday lives and helped even more so through the partnership with Carphone Warehouse.  Carphone Warehouse’s sponsorship of the Spring Online campaign will be administered by Digital Unite’s charitable arm, the Digital Unite Trust.

Judith Graham, Operations Manager for Spring Online said: “We are delighted to have Carphone Warehouse as Headline Partner for Spring Online again this year.  The way the stores took time out from business as usual to get involved in the campaign and effectively meet the needs of local older people was terrific. We’re looking forward to building on these successful foundations with Carphone Warehouse to help even more people in 2014.”

Slingshot Sponsorship to Deliver ‘Team Boris’ for the Mayor’s Charities at Prudential Ride London 2013 9th July, 2013

Slingshot Sponsorship has been announced as the representative agency for Team Boris raising funding for the Mayor’s Charities for this year’s Prudential Ride London which is taking place across the city during the 3rd-4th August 2013.

Throughout the Prudential RideLondon campaign, Slingshot Sponsorship will be co-ordinating ‘Team Boris’ – a London-wide campaign to promote the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s involvement with Ride London, on behalf of his charities that aim to support London’s future.  Slingshot Sponsorship will be creating, developing and co-ordinating the Team Boris campaign with the objective of securing funding and support for the Mayor’s charities.

Developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies, Prudential RideLondon promises to be a world-class festival of cycling set in the beautiful backdrop of the capital city.  The unique event combines fun and accessible elements of a free family ride in central London with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclist’s race in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix. Amateur cyclists will also participate in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 to raise money for the Mayor’s Fund for London, The Legacy List and the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director, Slingshot Sponsorship expressed ‘We are honoured to be tasked with the development and co-ordination of ‘Team Boris.’ Being based in London, it is sometimes hard to believe the extent of poverty that exists throughout the capital, the Mayor’s charities are engaging in some truly inspiring work and we are excited to explore exciting opportunities around Prudential Ride London to assist this cause.’

The Mayor’s Charities run a range of projects that will create 500 apprenticeships and other employment opportunities for local young people;  deliver 3,000 much-needed music grants to inspire young Londoners; provide 5,000 free breakfasts to hungry school kids; supply 400 reading volunteers to help children who are struggling and inspired over 3,000 school children with creative education projects connected to the Olympic Park – as well as supporting the capital’s most innovative arts organisations. These schemes ensure young Londoners achieve their full potential life, education, arts and music.

Please visit www.teamborislondon.com for more information and follow @TeamBorisLondon on Twitter for updates.

Slingshot Helps Digitally Excluded People to Spring Online 29th April, 2013

On Friday 26 April, Slingshot hosted our very own Spring Online event, “Slingshot’s Online Skills for Beginners.”

Spring Online in association with Carphone Warehouse takes place every year between 22–26 April and is an award-winning campaign that provides a unique platform to help people understand, explore and enjoy digital technology. The campaign encourages residents to throw open their doors and hold free digital taster events for their local communities; all with the aim of helping thousands of older people and other less confident users take their first steps online.

The Slingshot team worked together to get people down to our Spring Online event. The team visited local care homes, housing associations and doctor’s surgeries, posted flyers in coffee shops and publicised the event via Spring Online’s media partner Streetlife, an online platform for local communities.

On the afternoon of Friday 26 April, Slingshot’s offices were bursting at the seams with attendees learning how to set up their own email accounts, exploring the wonders of shopping online and singing along to their favourite artists such as Tony Bennett and One Direction on YouTube!

One attendee, who had been given an iPad by her Grandchildren but had little knowledge of how to use it, enjoyed the event so much she asked whether she could attend every Friday and nearly all of the attendees asked where they could buy a computer.

My Grandchildren gave me an iPad for Christmas and I have hardly used it. Today I have learnt to shop online, download cooking apps and I am so excited to go home and play games. I can’t thank you enough Slingshot!

Slingshot is the exclusive sponsorship agency for Spring Online which is supported by Headline Sponsors Carphone Warehouse and Supporting Sponsors BMI Healthcare and Marks & Spencer. To find out more about Spring online and its sponsors click here.

The Art of Brand Storytelling 26th February, 2013

In a recent article, Rebecca Walton, the newly appointed head of brand for UNICEF expressed the need for the charity to develop a central brand narrative.  The reasoning behind such a claim is in sight of two main aims – firstly, to better integrate its marketing and secondly, to boost its appeal to supporters within the UK.

Reading the article triggered an initial thought in my mind, which traced back to a piece I read at the end of last year in Direct Marketing News – which stated 2012 to be ‘the year of the story.’  Indeed, 2012 exemplified the notion that brands and charities alike have to utilise upon their brand narrative, and storytelling in order to deliver their message and increase their level of engagement with the consumer.  In an age where anything is available at the touch of a button – the importance of delivering the right message or story is critical.

Of course, the relationship between the brand and the art of storytelling has been around for years – you only have to look at some of worlds most loved brands and you will know and understand their brand story, take for example, Ben & Jerry’s.  Yet what distinguishes these brands from most others is that their narrative truly engages with the consumer.  Not only do Ben & Jerry’s promote their own story, it seeks to integrate the consumer’s story within it, see for example, their ‘Capture Euphoria’ campaign which encouraged Ben & Jerry’s fans to upload photos of themselves in situations where they felt Euphoric onto Instagram.

Unlike Ben & Jerry’s, UNICEF believes that it has not created enough of a brand narrative through which to engage with the public.  However, Watson expresses, ‘UNICEF is very trusted, it’s very rational and intelligent’ yet she feels that as a charity, it is sometimes overlooked.  UNICEF’s decision to develop its brand narrative highlights so significantly that yes, content is key, but what has developed to become equally as important is how the brand story and its content is delivered.  Walton explains that the internal shift within UNICEF is designed to make its communications and brand marketing ‘more strategic, more integrated and more effective.’  As witnessed throughout the industry, brand narrative can be used as a powerful marketing tool, but if they are not communicated in the right way, the connection between charity/brand and consumer can be tainted and sometimes even disengaged.

What is most fascinating about brand storytelling and engagement is the avenues that can be explored through the development of technology.  Technological innovations in relation to communication channels have seen the development of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram to become part of the overall brand narrative.  Such communication tools allow the consumer to engage with the brand whenever and wherever they so wish.  Encouraging the consumer to immerse and engage themselves with the brand’s story – in the hope that the targeted audience will have a life-long affinity to the brand which in UNICEF’s case, should lead to support and donations.

As another element to UNICEF’s new brand strategy, the charity has decided to focus on partnerships and public engagement.  The charity wishes to build on its existing partnerships with the International Cricket Council and will seek to explore additional avenues into sports.  What is becoming ever more apparent is the use of partnerships as a means to target the audiences charities/brands wish to engage with.  Partnerships allow charities/brands to engage in activities which in many cases lead to progress and an expansion of the overall brand narrative.

If we relate back to UNICEF’s two main aims to develop their brand narrative: to integrate its marketing and boost its appeal to UK supporters.  What we are able to learn from this decision is the importance of not only the brand story itself, but the means through which it is communicated.  Technological advancement and the inter-connectivity that has escalated from it, alongside strategic partnerships can help develop and expand a brand’s story into avenues towards audiences that previously may never have been reached.

Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as Exclusive Sponsorship Agency for Children's Charity Rays of Sunshine 22nd February, 2013

Slingshot Sponsorship has been announced as the exclusive sponsorship agency for Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity’s 10th Anniversary Concert, which will be held at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall 6 July 2013.

Set in one of London’s most beautiful and exclusive venues, the Rays of Sunshine Concert promises to be a night of unprecedented music and entertainment.  With past line-ups featuring a host of Britain’s most treasured pop stars ranging from JLS to Pixie Lott, Rays of Sunshine’s Concert is shaping up to be as unique as the children themselves.

Granting its first wish in 2003, Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity was formed with the aim of granting wishes to children with serious and terminal illnesses.  The charity’s promise is to grant wishes however impossible it may seem.  Ranging from hospital ward wishes, to organising events and outings for large groups, Rays of Sunshine has granted trips to Disney World and even meetings with superstars like Beyonce and One Direction.  What is more, Rays of Sunshine will be celebrating its 3,000 wish in line with its 10th Anniversary.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship stated:

Slingshot is delighted to be working alongside Rays of Sunshine for their annual Concert.  As a charity, Rays of Sunshine changes lives, and it is a privilege for our agency to be working with this highly unique organisation.  We are excited to explore the prospect of delivering partnerships that will enhance this special night for the children.

Rays of Sunshine’s Concert is one of many wonderful events the charity organises throughout the year, to raise money for children at their time of need.  One mother stated after attending the event, “I have never seen Ria like this before, she has so much energy and charisma, I cannot thank Rays of Sunshine enough for granting her the opportunity to attend a once in a lifetime event.”

Jane Sharpe, CEO, Rays of Sunshine commented:

We are proud to be working with Slingshot Sponsorship.  The expertise that Slingshot has crafted around events similar to Rays of Sunshine’s Concert will help us to deliver an event that will stay with these children forever.  The concert has become an integral part of our calendar and we have every confidence that alongside Slingshot, we will deliver the best concert in its history.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Rays of Sunshine Concert are currently available.