Five Tips For Making Your Approach To Corporates A Success
Wednesday, 9th August 2017 at 12:02 pm
The competition for corporate support is fierce, writes Benojo founder Martyn Ryan who offers his top tips on making a stand out approach.
There are thousands of good causes out there and plenty of organisations wanting to do the right thing. So how can you make your approach one that stands out from the crowd?
There are five important steps to follow when looking for support through new corporate partnerships.
- Before any approach, do as much research as you can – establish what it is that a potential partner is trying to achieve.
By understanding some of the key drivers it can assist in tailoring the approach. How does what your charity relate to their business, customers, community or employees? Can you help increase employee engagement, or create shared value with other important groups? Are they looking to, or do they focus on, specific social issues? How have they promoted and measured any previous programs?
Being armed with this information will help you align your message and offering rather than a more generic approach.
- Ask questions and gather valuable intelligence – it is a common misconception that all corporates have considered giving strategies. In many cases it is quite the opposite, with giving following an ad hoc approach, driven by what they know, who’s approached them or a particularly passionate employee. This is where charities can take a strategic approach and demonstrate how what you do will resonate with the people who are important to them.
Be up front in gleaning as much information as you can. Know the mission, vision and values of your potential partner, what they are looking to achieve and how they intent to measure their success? Who do they want to involve, why and how? Find out who are the internal sponsors, what are their key drivers and the expectations on you as the charity.
Always establish timelines and milestones, as this is a door opener for talking potential long-term relationships. The more you can understand, the better the foundation for a laser approach and a sustainable partnership.
- Approach with flexibility and options – Understanding your potential partner provides an opportunity to do something great together.
Wherever possible look at how you can tailor your offering to meet their needs. Are they looking for activity-filled volunteer days, an on-site event, a company-wide competitive fundraiser?
Be open to challenging the norm to show future commitment and always provide wherever possible a selection of options and the outcomes they represent. This shows you are not only flexible but it also provides a framework for negotiating future opportunities or can form part of a growth strategy for your charity.
- Joint goal setting, something to work towards – If a partnership falls over, it’s usually because one or both parties are not clear on shared goals, objectives and outcomes.
At the outset, level the playing field in terms of expectations, power, resourcing and commitment. It also provides transparency and visibility into the success of the relationship and conversely, how issues will be addressed.
But don’t try to boil the ocean. Starting small, present a scaling plan based on meeting milestones over defined periods of times, setting out the activities. This enables trust to be built, which in turn opens up new opportunities to extend the relationship. This is also the opportunity to lock in long-term agreements as you jointly plan to scale the partnership.
- Have a communication and partnership management plan – Once you have set goals and objectives, look at breaking them down into manageable chunks that are regularly reviewed and documented.
Having a communication and management plan puts the onus on both parties to ensure that the partnership stays on track and the success is measured in communicated to all stakeholders.
This professional approach will provide confidence of commitment but more importantly will allow for ongoing improvement. Even think about putting some design thinking methods into your meetings to promote new ideas and innovation. Taking this work off your corporate partner -who is busy enough – will only increase your value.
About the author: Martyn Ryan is the founder, executive director and chairman of Benojo – a social philanthropy organisation providing technology and guidance to help people connect to charitable causes.