Partnership can benefit businesses and charities

Tuk tuk sla 1

Third Force News speaks to Scottish Love in Action and restaurant Tuk Tuk to learn the secrets of a successful partnership

25th September 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Going into partnership with a business can offer far more than a boost to a charity’s coffers.

Through linking two like-minded organisations, a successful link can deliver real benefits for both parties – from raising a charity’s profile to gaining corporate support for events.

Whilst large organisations are likely to have partners queuing up – from football clubs to high street retailers – deciding to embark on a corporate collaboration can be far more daunting for smaller groups.

Scottish Love in Action (SLA), an Edinburgh based charity that cares for and supports vulnerable children in India, are an example of a small charity that has successfully joined businesses with a local restaurant.

The charity was approached by Tuk Tuk - which aims to bring authentic Indian street food to Scotland through its outlets in Leven Street, Edinburgh, and Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow - at the beginning of the year.

Tuk Tuk manager Mohit Chowdhary said that his business had been on the hunt for a charity partner that carried out work in India, and was immediately struck by the good work that SLA carries out.

“We always wanted to do something for India, and getting involved with a charity was on our minds,” he said.

“We got in touch with SLA, through Vicki Watson, SLA’s fundraising and communications’ manager, and when we heard more about them the partnership was something we knew would work really well.

“The partnership has been amazing. The customers have been very happy to take part and know it is all for a really good cause.”

Founder and Chairperson, Gillie Davidson, set up SLA after she led a youth group expedition to Tuni in south east India to help build a Home and School for 120 destitute children in 1999. She said that trustees were not worried about creating the partnership as there was a natural link between the two organisations.

Davidson said: “It meant so much that they got in touch with us. It gives us hope that there is a bit of awareness around what we are doing.

“They were looking for the opportunity to support good work in India and it all just fell into place.

“It seemed like a natural thing – a link between street food and street children.”

From February, Tuk Tuk began asking each table of customers, in both their Edinburgh and Glasgow restaurants, to donate 50p with their bill to provide three meals a day for one of the girls at the ASRITHA Rainbow Home that SLA supports, which cares for around 100 girls who previously lived on the streets in Hyderabad.

Since then, £5,500 was raised in the first six months of the partnership, providing more than 33,000 meals for Indian children. Alongside the financial boost to the charity, guests at the restaurant get to learn more about SLA’s work and Chowdhary said his staff have also embraced getting behind a good cause.

He said: “People get to know about SLA and all the work they have been doing. They often ask our staff about it and want to leave a little bit more money.

“The vast majority of tables take part, somewhere between 95 and 98% give a donation. We see this as a something that could certainly become a long term partnership.”

The partnership began on an initial six-month pilot, which has now been extended by a further six months, and Davidson said she would recommend other small charities to embark on similar agreements with local businesses if they can find natural partners.

“The local connection is there,” she said. “This is a local charity working together with a small business. Working together is what community should be about.

“It has allowed people to hear about is in a different way, alongside the amount of money it has raised to help feed thousands of children.”