Welcome to the first edition of Partnership Insights - a short series of publications aimed at following up on the Cross sector partnership guideline


Welcome to the first edition of Partnership Insights - a short series of publications aimed at following up on the Cross sector partnership guideline that was published in March 2016.

In this edition we will be focusing on sustainable partnership business models; featuring an interview with Bahare Hagshenas from Deloitte Sustainability and with two very different case studies; the Bilka/DanChurchAid project in Malawi and the partnership between Falck and BØRNEfonden in Benin.

You can click directly to PDF-versions of each article or download the entire publication.

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Bahare Hagshenas. Photo © by Deloitte


A sustainable business model is the heart of a successful cross-sector partnership. Companies and NGOs should define common goals that are linked to their respective business models and keep in mind that money is not the only value, says senior manager Bahare Hagshenas from Deloitte.

As the society expects companies to display a stronger social and environmental respectability, private companies are forced to rethink their role. They can no longer only focus on making money, but also have to create value for the society.
“The engagement needs to be closely connected to what you do as a company. If not, it quickly becomes untrustworthy,” says senior manager Bahare Hagshenas from Deloitte Sustainability.
She has been a main contributor to the Cross-Sector Partnership Guideline and has been analysing a large number of different partnerships between private companies and humanitarian organisations.
“At the same time, many companies are looking for new business opportunities, new customer segments, new markets or trying to develop new products in a complex world. In order to solve those challenges, you need to dip your toe into new environments and find new partners. CSOs provide an opportunity to engage with consumers in a common cause that helps create consumer loyalty and product favour,” she says.

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Belness Nyamuyota Msumbe - a local woman taking part in building a health clinic i Malawi in the Bilka / DanChurchAid-project. Photo @ by Folkekirkens Nødhjælp/ Francis Botha


The Bilka stores needed an image change. The humanitarian NGO DanChurchAid needed funding for their projects. An unusual partnership between a chain store and a civil society organisation has demonstrated the power of value creation through an innovative business model with many different revenue streams.

“We wanted to change our image in the public eye,” says Bilka store manager Morten Wagner.
“Bilka was being perceived as a big, square, aggressive and masculine chain store. We needed to change that – it was simply something that was expected by everyone around us.”
Bilka decided to partner up with a suitable NGO and start a humanitarian project in order to showcase their social engagement and awareness of the World.

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Tricycle tuk-tuk ambulances ready for deployment in Benin. Photo @ by BØRNEfonden


Not all partnerships between private companies and NGOS set out to create a sustainable business models. The collaboration between BØRNEfonden and Falck was all about bringing healthcare to rural Benin by transferring knowledge from Denmark. The project was never intended to lead to a profitable business case, but that doesn’t mean that there is no value in the project.

“We know that private companies are able to help us achieve things that we could never have done on our own,” says BØRNEfonden coordinator Iben Rasmine Østergaard Marcussen.
“The unique thing about Falck and us is that our core values are the same. They are here to save lives and so are we,” she says.
The match between the children’s NGO and the health care provider Falck has led to a project in the West African country Benin to educate local health workers, improve the health clinics and set up an ambulance service.
The project was set up partially with funding from a nationwide Danish charity fundraiser and supported with in-kind donations from Falck.

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Good advice from the guide

The Cross-sector partnership guideline offers good advice on how to build a sustainable business case.

Click to visit the guide's page on business cases...


partnership insights is a series of digital publications that build on the Cross-sector Partnership Guideline published by Danish Red Cross with research and analysis by Deloitte.

Produced by Brodersen Kommunikation for access2innovation.

© 2016 by Danish Red Cross and access2innovation.

Skrmbillede 2016-06-29 kl. 10.07.03
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