03/10/2006 - 22:00

Not for profit: With a little help from a friend

03/10/2006 - 22:00

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Pure sponsorship is no longer the norm when it comes to philanthropy in the business community, as not-for-profit organisations develop more sophisticated relationships with their corporate counterparts.

Not for profit: With a little help from a friend

Pure sponsorship is no longer the norm when it comes to philanthropy in the business community, as not-for-profit organisations develop more sophisticated relationships with their corporate counterparts.

 

The Men’s Advisory Network (M.A.N.) is one organisation looking to capitalise on a partnership with business, as it launches its ‘Adopt a Website’ project, aiming to create an anonymous and accessible source of information for men and boys about topics such as health, relationships and self development.

 

Executive officer Gary Bryant says men are reluctant to seek out information, especially relating to their physical and mental health, and unlike women have few outlets available to them.

 

“On a website, once they’re aware that it exists, they can anonymously get information for themselves,” Mr Bryant said.

 

The ‘Adopt a Website’ project will provide the opportunity for a business, or group of businesses, to manage either the whole website, or certain sections.

 

Community business partnerships are a relatively new area of corporate social responsibility, and Mr Bryant fears some organisations will mistake the new project for sponsorship.

 

“We are having trouble getting the message through that we want to enter a partnership,” he said.

 

The organisation has identified issues it believes are especially relevant for inclusion on the website, however it would encourage people to become involved in areas they have a particular interest in.

 

“Companies that might be interested would be those employing a lot of men, as it’s in their interest to have healthy and happy workforce,” he said.

 

For ease of administration, Mr Bryant envisages a partnership with one organisation, although the program could be a co-operative venture between several businesses.

 

At present, the website will be called the Men’s Advisory Network, with the possibility of naming rights or a company sponsored name to be negotiated with interested parties.

 

Staff members would volunteer to source information and links for the website, and conduct maintenance to ensure links are live and working, with relevant information.

 

The workload would be dispersed, with many people contributing a small amount to create a comprehensive source of information.

 

“It will be of benefit to the general community,” Mr Bryant said.

 

He also said the project allows individuals to participate easily, as volunteering can be performed within the workplace, requiring only computer access.

 

Mr Bryant reports some feedback from organisations saying they are reluctant to become involved in a project that is gender specific, but points out that women have access to many services especially catered to them.

 

In fact, many of the inquiries received by M.A.N. are from women, concerned about their sons, fathers or partners and looking for information.

 

Federal and state governments alike have been promoting community business partnerships over the last few years.

 

In 2003, a joint venture between the Western Australian Council of Social Services, Curtin University, Lotterywest and Philanthropy Australia produced a report called ‘Shared Vision, Shared Benefits – A Study of Community Business Partnerships in WA’, to promote the establishment of not-for-profit partnerships with business, such as the M.A.N. website initiative.

 

The Men’s Advisory Network originated from a meeting in 1997 at Notre Dame University, and receives funding from the WA Department of Health.

 

The network was intended to be the peak body representing men’s health and wellbeing in Western Australia, and currently has 16 organisation and 26 individual members.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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