Know your brand/ know the corporate and don’t ask…yet
Make it easy for a potential corporate partner to understand your purpose, what you do and how you go about it. Be targeted. Don’t try to be all things to all corporates. That’s not how good charity brands are made and the right partners brought on board.
Importantly, make sure you do some research about the company to get an idea of what they do and what their values are to see if they’d be a good fit for your organisation. The more you know about the company and their needs, the better you can position yourself as a potential partner.
“Get to know the prospective partner first: who are they? What are their drivers? What are their needs? Listen to what they want out of a relationship. You’ll then be in better shape to communicate your organisation’s needs more effectively,” said Ash Knop, Leukaemia Foundation.
Tempting though it may be, Ash warned: “Don’t start with an ask!”
Get the Board involved
Board members with good corporate connections should be asked to help make introductions and spruik the charity to potential corporate partners, said CauseForce’s Will Kirsop MFIA.
“Leverage the network of your organisation and its Board to generate relationships and provide a clear offer for the corporate that provides them with a distinctive benefit(s) for partnering with your organisation,” he advised.
Engage employees/ equal footing required
Develop strategies and programs that can be used by corporate partners to engage their employees. These can include volunteer days or hours where corporate staff can help your organisation in meaningful ways, sponsored events or fundraising challenges.
And don’t ever miss out on telling a good story about outcomes.
“It’s important to find opportunities to engage key stakeholders and staff in your mission in meaningful ways, sharing your story and the impact being created through powerful storytelling,” said HomeMade Digital’s Meredith Dwyer FFIA CFRE.
Meredith also advised fundraisers to truly understand what they can offer a corporate partner. She warned that both organisations had to be on an equal footing or problems could occur on the journey.
Show how you make a difference (and how they are too)
Make sure you detail what is important for your corporate partner in regular meetings. Corporates always want to see where their investments are going. Get your data analyst or marketing staff to pull some stats so you can tell your partner great stories of how their particular donations or staff are making a real difference to your cause.
“Like any partnership, develop your relationships, understand your partner’s needs and help them achieve their own objectives whilst demonstrating how you are doing this,” concluded CareFlight’s Trent Osborn MFIA.
Going to the Conference? Let us know!
If you’re also attending FIA Conference 2018, reach out to us in the comments section below or on Twitter (@FundInstituteAu). We’d love to hear your advice on creating and maintaining corporate partnerships!