Barclays and Coutts both used to sponsor Stonewall, the organisation campaigning for equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. But because Stonewall has used negative campaigning techniques, highlighting bigots as well as champions, they say they will withdraw their financial support.
Others have pointed out that they should have known, since 2012 is the third year of the Bigot Awards. But it also raises questions about the undue influence that companies may have on the NGOs they ‘support’. If you support an NGO’s aims, is it legitimate to dictate what they do? And should not do?
And in a world where CSR is so closely allied to PR, companies should realise that in financing an NGO, the NGO is actually also supporting the company’s reputation. Damage theirs and your own suffers. What’s more, the harder edged the campaign image of an NGO, the better the company looks for supporting them.
So it will be interesting to see how the re-launch of Barclay’s image gets on.