CoOp project – a promising start

Our Erasmus+ project CoOp (Cooperate to Operate – bringing together youth organizations and SMEs through corporate social responsibility) has been granted 171.059 EURO by Aktiv Ungdom (Norway). The project is outcome of a partnership between Norsensus Mediaofrum (Norway), Youth Work Ireland ️(Ireland), Fundatia Danis (Romania), Asset Tec (Greece) and Fundacja Robinson Crusoe (Poland). The project is also supported by Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai (Romania) and Høgskole i Oslo.

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 goal of the project is to support youth workers and 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 project will be implemented between August 2017 and July 2019.

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 aims to respond 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 will bring valuable results for partner organizations, youth workers, SMEs and other relevant stakeholders from the youth field.