EDF Corporate Sector Partnership Guidelines

Working with corporate partners helps the European Disability Forum (EDF) reach new and diverse audiences, while raising funds to support the interests of people with disabilities in Europe. The objective of these Guidelines is to enable the creation of mutually beneficial partnerships between the EDF and the corporate sector, with the aim to achieve equal opportunities for all men, women and children with disabilities throughout Europe. The Guidelines are set out in order to enable the EDF to access financing from the private sector while protecting EDF’s reputation, integrity and strategic vision.
 

Introduction

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent NGO that defends the interests of 100 million people with disabilities in Europe. EDF was created in 1996 by its member organisations to ensure that decisions at the EU level concerning persons with disabilities are taken with and by persons with disabilities. EDF’s objective is to achieve equal opportunities for all men, women and children with disabilities. EDF works closely with their active members around Europe; other non-profit organisations fighting for equality and non-discrimination; EU institutions and agencies; EU presidencies and permanent representatives of countries in the EU; the Council of Europe; the United Nations (UN) and its bodies; the International Disability Alliance (IDA); and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).

EDF’s values and UN CRPD

EDF’s values are built on the principles of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD): Respect for inherent dignity; Individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices; Non-discrimination; Full and effective participation and inclusion in society; Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; Equality of opportunity; Accessibility; Equality between men and women; and Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

How decisions are made

Decisions on corporate partnership are carried out on a case-by-case basis following this Guideline Document. Potential corporate sector relationships will undergo a screening and due diligence process using the screening criteria below. For Sponsors who meet all of the criteria and for amounts under 10 000 EUR the authority to agree a sponsorship contract rests with the Director. Where research into the sponsor reveals conflicting evidence or if the requirements are unusual the decision is referred to the Executive Committee. The corporate sponsorship will be formalized in a written contract signed by the EDF Director. A report on sponsorship agreements will be prepared for scrutiny by the Board at each meeting. An annual report on sponsorship applied for and agreed will be prepared for each Annual General Assembly.

Preliminary Screening Criteria

The initial screening will be undertaken by an EDF Secretariat Staff member. 

The preliminary screening of prospective corporate partners will be based on:

  • the type of product or service the company sells (adult content, tobacco, alcohol and firearms companies are automatically excluded from partnerships); also companies with a controversial nature, or where are there proven harmful effects on people with disabilities, such as psycho-pharmaceutical companies1 are excluded.
  • the company’s public record with regards to human rights, and particular the rights of people with disabilities and all discriminated minorities. To thoroughly assess the above, the following questions should be researched by the EDF secretariat staff member responsible for coordinating the corporate partnership;

Preliminary assesment questions

  • Is there anything in the company’s goals or values which conflict with EDFs mission, vision values, or the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? 
  • Is the company openly opposed to equality and inclusion for persons with disabilities?
  • If the company has a history of not respecting the rights of persons with disabilities, has it taken effective measures to address this? 
  • Is the company law abiding?

Undertaking a simple google search for articles, (especially recent news articles), related to users' satisfaction, the company’s human rights or social track record, recent violations/scandals/lawsuits, advocacy positions, DPO opinions etc. is a quick way to get a sense of a company’s reputation.

If the Corporation is based in a country where EDF has a national council member, they will also be consulted. If there is a conflict of interest between the EDF member on this, the member should make this clear.

If research reveals that a company has had a recent public issue related to violating human rights, and there is no information on what steps are being taken to remedy or mitigate the situation, the EDF should reach out to their contact at the company to gather further information about how the company is handling the situation. In any cases of serious doubt, EDF Board members will be consulted for their opinion on the issue.

Second Screening 

If the company has met the preliminary screening criteria, the EDF staff in charge of the screening process should then ensure that both the company, as well as the details of the proposed partnership meet the following criteria regarding the suitability of the partnership from a commercial, financial and strategic perspective. These are standard criteria used by NGOs and Non-profit organisations to ensure that a potential partnership is financially sound and mutually beneficial.

Financial Health:

  • EDF welcomes donations to support our core work.
  • In principle EDF requires a guaranteed minimum donation of 5,000 euros for Corporate Partnership.
  • EDF welcomes proposals from businesses with at least one year of operating experience. o Both the EDF and the partner company should have sufficient human resources and financial capacity to effectively and efficiently manage the proposed partnership.
  • The hours required to manage the partnership from the EDF side should be calculated and weighed against the fiscal benefit of engaging in the partnership. 

Strategic Relevance and Mutual Accountability:

  • The potential collaboration must fit within the EDF’s overall mission, facilitate activities of EDF's strategic plan and must advance the goals and objectives of the EDF.

Endorsement and Messaging:

  • EDF does not endorse specific brands, products, political or religious ideologies. 
  • While EDF may publicly acknowledge its corporate partners, EDF cannot advertise, promote, sell or distribute products or services for partners. 
  • EDF owns the trademarks for its name and logo and a written contract is required to use any licensed marks.

Transparency:

  • EDF will maintain a process of openness and fairness in developing collaborations with partners on similar projects or projects with similar intent.As such, the EDF retains the right to fully disclose any potential collaboration where legally required.
  • A written contractual agreement is a precondition for partnership. This contract will clearly define the roles, responsibilities and deliverables of both EDF and the corporate partner, as well as indicate the name of the staff persons responsible for the delivery of the project for both the EDF and the corporate partner.

Types of Partnership

The EDF can engage in different types of partnerships with the corporate sector, including but not limited to fee-for-service and subcontractor relationships, collaborative partnerships, and event sponsorships. The partnership should be used to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and communication about the partnership should reinforce positive messages about persons with disabilities and their rights.

The type of partnership, as well as the deliverables and activities each party is responsible for will be developed and agreed together based on the needs of both organisations.

EDF retains the right both to offer corporate sponsors standard sponsorship packages, as well as to create customized packages or projects based on the needs and resources of both parties.

Obligations of both parties

The written contract between EDF and corporate partner will clearly specify the obligations of both parties in terms of advertisement and publicity. It may include but is not limited to:

  • Use of partner logo on EDF website, newsletter, e-mail footer, press releases, social media (for communication regarding the activity/ activities being sponsored). 
  • Signage at EDF private or public events: use of partner logo in event programmes, opportunities for stands or booths (non-commercial) at EDF  private or public events; invitation of corporate partner employees to EDF events; introduction by corporate partners of speakers at EDF events; use of partner logo on event merchandise (bags, pens and notepads, registration booth, lanyards) etc.
  • Opportunities for partners to host EDF dinners, conferences, cocktails or workshops at their office
  • Opportunities for corporate partners to send employees for skills-sharing and staff-swaps at EDF secretariat ▪ Sponsorship of physical infrastructure improvements to EDF secretariat building, with permanent plaque recognizing corporate sponsor 

Every decision either positive or negative should be submitted to the Board and the state of play of every contract and its content should be made available for the GA.

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