Author(s): Kay Allen with Tanja Rasmussen
Publisher: Diverse Advice Ltd
A wise man once declared that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The same logic has been applied by Kay Allen and Tanja Rasmussen in their practical guide to managing corporate-charity partnerships.
Drawing upon ten successful cross-sector relationships, Corporates are from Mars, Charities are from Venus aims to provide a systematic approach to charity-corporate collaborations.
Framed around a ten-point action plan and drawing upon John Gray’s original subject matter, the book works through a charity-corporate partnership from conception to conclusion. Starting with singlehood and the desire to form a partnership, the guide journeys through the corporate-charity dating scene, engagement, marriage and through to reflections.
With a tongue-in-cheek approach, the book delivers a logical, well-structured guide. Recognising differences in values and expectations, it celebrates the distinctiveness of both sectors and the benefits they bring to a relationship. Helpfully, Corporates are from Mars, Charities are from Venus is infused with pragmatism courtesy of Allen and Rasmussen’s practical experience of the topic. Combined with case studies from senior leaders and practitioners across both sectors, the book offers a valuable insight for those embarking upon a partnership, as well as a helpful reminder to seasoned managers.
What I particularly liked about the book is the structure. As a guide, it is clear, accessible and the regular smattering of colourful “Top Tip” boxes provides quick snippets of information. Each succinct chapter concludes with a brief summary, so a time-poor reader could speedily gather key details. The book also felt balanced, dispensing advice to corporates and charities alike.
Although briefly referencing cross-sector partnerships is not always the appropriate path, I felt the book would have had greater integrity if this had received a little more attention. It also felt slightly repetitive in parts and could have benefitted from some less obvious examples of partnership activity. However, rich examples have been included and where partnerships have been particularly innovative, this provides a stimulating account.
Practitioners will find the text encouraging, particularly the honest insights into the challenges of partnership. Those new to corporate-charity engagement will not feel overwhelmed, but comforted by an accessible and well-structured guide.
Overall, Corporates are from Mars, Charities are from Venus is an interesting read and one could imagine skimming through the book for practical advice often.
Andrea Grace Rannard, CSR International