CoOp project aims to enhance the collaboration between Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and youth organizations, thus to promote and encourage private investment in youth development, and education. The main objective of the project is to support youth workers, thus youth organizations, to diversify their funding sources and attract investments from the business sector, by professionalizing them in the field of CSR / fundraising from SMEs.
The specific objectives of the project are:
-Develop reliable knowledge on the SMEs’ and youth organizations’ collaboration, and on how much business investment can be attracted for youth development, and education.
-Develop innovative and attractive funding models and tools on CSR and fundraising, which can be used both by youth organizations and SMEs.
-Identify and promote best practices and success stories on the SMEs’ and youth organizations’ partnerships, intended to start an European trend for such partnerships.
-Propose valuable public policies for boosting the partnerships between SMEs and youth organizations, intended to start an European trend for such collaborations.
CoOp project goes in line with the key principles of the Investment Plan for Europe, as it encourages SMEs to contribute to the development of sectors, such as education, youth work, youth development, through Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).
The project responds to the pressing need of European NGOs for diversifying the funding sources, and attracting more investments from the business sector, in order to obtain financial sustainability.
The project addresses the causes of this need, as identified by the partner organizations: the lack for research-based knowledge on SMEs’ specific motivations for CSR activities, and SMEs’ real capacity for giving; lack of innovative tools for raising funds from the business sector, and the tools to guide SMEs in the CSR field; the lack of the right tools to screen youth workers for assigning fundraising responsibilities, and to train them for taking on these responsibilities; the lack of public policies that could boost the SMEs’ involvement in CSR activities.
The main target group in the CoOp project are the youth workers (at least 150). We will address all their needs described above, through innovative products, such as ready tools for fundraising and CSR activities, job profile and selection tests for fundraisers-youth workers, reliable research on SMEs’ involvement in youth field, training for youth workers on CSR and fundraising, policy briefs for boosting SMEs’ and NGOs’ collaboration, best practices guide, video success stories, and a professional blog on CSR for SMEs and youth organizations.
50 SMEs are also targeted by the project’s activities, and outcomes, as the key approach in all the resources created is the focus on the collaboration between the youth organizations and SMEs. Thus, all the outputs are developed having in mind that these should serve both sectors, boosting the alliances between them.
The CoOp project brings valuable results for partner organizations, youth workers, SMEs and other relevant stakeholders from the youth field.
First, CoOp helps partner organizations, and youth workers to professionalize their fundraising activities, diversify funding sources, and ensure financial sustainability. SMEs benefit from valuable information about youth organizations, spotting concrete opportunities for CSR activities, and gaining an international perspective on their sector in regards to the CSR activities, and on business investment in youth.
Second, CoOp provides both to youth organizations and SMEs innovative and attractive funding models and tools on CSR and fundraising. The partner organizations use these tools to professionalize their organizations, their fundraising teams, diversify funds, ensure financial sustainability, and to start providing consultancy to SMEs on CSR.
Third, CoOp promotes best practices and success stories on the SMEs’ and youth organizations’ partnerships, motivating both youth organizations, and SMEs to get involved in common CSR activities, while receiving an international perspective, and the right recipes for success.
Finally, CoOp proposes valuable public policies for boosting the partnerships between SMEs and youth organizations, intended to start an European trend for such collaborations. These are the first policy initiatives on CSR for SMEs in the field of youth, in the partner countries.
In conclusion, the project increases financial resources for youth field and also develop professional organizations open to synergies with business sector. The project supports youth workers to improve their professional competences and increase their sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. The project reinforces the interaction between practice, research and policy in the field of youth and CSR; and creates closer links between the youth field and the business community.