Getting started on your corporate partnership journey can seem daunting. It is important to step back and evaluate your goals, approach and realistic timelines so your entire team are on the same page. Here are 6 tips to kickstart your corporate partnership:
1. Be clear on your corporate partnership goal
If you are planning on building corporate partnerships for your charity, the first question to ask is “Why – what is your main goal for the partnership?”
The goal of a true partnership should be to help your charity achieve its purpose or mission. A corporate charity partnership should be mutually beneficial, based on a shared purpose, that could bring about real change and impact. The aim should not be about raising money. When you make your shared purpose your overarching goal, then the additional funding will follow.
2. Have a targeted and focused approach
It’s important to choose business partners who are the right fit for your organisation. Corporates often look to choose charity partners who can help them achieve their strategic goals. As well as identifying a shared purpose, consider which brands might be interested in the audiences you serve. Consider which corporates have challenges that you could help solve, such as strengthening their reputation, or engaging with their workforce. You should compile a targeted list of corporate partnerships (around 10 per fundraiser) to give you a good idea of where you should be focusing your attention. This will ensure that you can create a partnership that’s true to your cause and will stand the test of time.
3. Secure a face-to-face meeting
If you want to build corporate partnerships, then it is essential that you meet with your prospects face-to-face, or online. Securing meetings is one of the most important steps, but also one of the most difficult. Find out if your trustees, colleagues, or friends and family have a warm contact in the company, as this will make it much easier to secure a meeting. If you don’t have a contact, then find the name of the person you want to meet and email them directly. Keep your email short and create interest by stating your shared purpose.
4. Establish an equal relationship
Establishing an equal relationship on both sides is crucial when forming charity corporate partnerships. There is often a risk of imbalance, as the charity may feel like the company has the upper hand if they are providing funding, or expertise.
Successful partnerships will recognise the different strengths that each party can bring to the table and how you can best compliment each other. By identifying how you will build a meaningful relationship from the outset, you’ll avoid any tension further down the line and both sides will reap the benefits.
5. Be clear and realistic with each other
Be clear and realistic with each other about what you can and cannot commit to from the beginning, as this will help reduce the chances of an awkward conversation and any strain on your charity’s resources. Ensure you have regular communication to facilitate openness, so make sure you set up regular meetings to reinforce your alliance.
It is also vital to make it as easy as possible for them to work with you. This involves reaching out to them with a project in mind to start with and being clear about what they’re going to get out of it – whether it’s brand awareness, goodwill, or staff satisfaction. You can also provide ideas of how to raise money and supply helpful resources to promote what activity they’re doing in partnership with you.
6. Be willing to listen and adapt
It’s important to understand the partner that you’re working with. Your team can get together to brainstorm and come up with events that you think will work, but if you’re not willing to adapt the idea to the people that you’re partnering with, you’re creating a huge block. Of course, you will have ideas of what you want to do, but must accept their input, as they know their audience best. Don’t forget to listen openly to your partners.
Corporate partnerships are a great way of securing regular giving, but take care to provide regular updates of how the partnership is impacting your beneficiaries and helping you further your mission. The magic truly happens when a charity and corporate partnership go beyond a transactional donor recipient relationship to boost each other’s popularity and brand awareness.
Interested in learning more?
If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you to build successful corporate partnerships for your charity, then register for our Masterclass here. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with our Head of Partnerships Advisory Practice, Denise Cranston.