IESE Insight
5 strategies to build an alliance for social good
Diego Arias Padilla; Joan Fontrodona
Artículo basado en: Gavi - "La Caixa": A Successful Alliance to Promote Childhood Vaccinations
Año: 2020
Idioma: English

  • An alliance between CaixaBank's social foundation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) has raised 31 million euros and led to the vaccination of 5.4 million at-risk children.

  • From the experience, five key recommendations are offered to help build efficient and sustainable corporate alliances for the public good.

  • This successful public-private initiative could prove useful as many organizations race to find a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Since 2008, "La Caixa" Foundation (the social entity of Spain's CaixaBank) has, through its collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), contributed 31 million euros to vaccinating at-risk children around the world.

Originally formed as a response to an appeal by the World Bank in a 1998 summit, and funded early on by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi has gone on to vaccinate over 760 million children (66 million in 2018 alone) while working to strengthen health systems and immunization services in 75 countries. Gavi's goal is to vaccinate 300 million more by 2025 and help participating countries transition to managing immunization programs on their own.

Since La Caixa began collaborating with Gavi in 2008, it has collected donations from employees and clients that have gone to vaccinating 5.4 million children.

What's striking about the partnership is its unique mix of business and charity. "It's unusual to encounter a situation where an institution uses its commercial strength to achieve an objective that's not directly related to its own financial gain," write IESE's Diego Arias and Joan Fontrodona, the authors of the report, Gavi-"la Caixa": A Successful Alliance to Promote Childhood Vaccinations.

New allies
La Caixa managed to get the program going by leveraging CaixaBank as a financial institution, as well as its employees and clients. The goal was to serve as an example for other organizations, modeling best practices and social responsibility.

It's an experience that could prove valuable at a time when the world is striving to find a vaccine to halt the spread of the coronavirus -- and distribute it worldwide. From the initial teething problems of the partnership to the creative solutions employed to overcome them, the authors draw five key lessons:

1. Set a focused, concrete target: When La Caixa requested a report from Gavi to see the results of its investment, Gavi responded by prompting La Caixa to narrow its reach and focus its aid on a single country and disease. Concrete targets are easier to quantify, and visible results generate a sense of belonging and identity for collaborators.

2. Report in detail: Reporting not only ensures that the money collected is being used efficiently, it also provides transparency and builds trust. It's vital to strengthen relationships with donors. Here, Gavi and La Caixa reported their donations in detail and internally audited the program.

3. Treat donations as products: The most effective way to organize fundraising in the workforce is to make it clear that the organization considers donations as important as any commercial product the company offers. When collaborators and customers know that their donations are as important as sales for the organization, commitment is boosted and links between stakeholders are reinforced.

4. Design and use non-monetary incentives: Offer experiences rather than monetary incentives; these create more identification with the cause. Here, public recognition and experiences relating to the cause were offered to the collaborators who collected the largest number of donations. A committed employee can become an agent of change within the company.

5. Set an example and communicate effectively:
If you want others to donate, your organization should be the first to step up. Set an example and then ask others to join you. You should also strategically communicate the work you are doing, less to enhance your own reputation than to promote the cause. Good communication skills are key in this area: no one will be impressed if you just communicate to boost your own ego.

Vaccinations, and access to them, are set to become a topic of great interest, and public-private collaborations could play a significant role.

© IESE Business School - University of Navarra