Learnings from Beyond Blue’s partnership success during COVID-19
28 May 2020 at 7:00 am
Beyond Blue has not only preserved but also grown new partnerships during the pandemic. RESET 2020’s second live show looks at how they did it and offers advice on how you can preserve corporate partnerships during COVID-19.
Our second topic of “Community and corporate partnerships in uncertain times” kicked off on a high note when we heard that some organisations were experiencing a 200 per cent increase from partnerships, with some receiving unsolicited approaches from corporates. Overall, the decline in partnerships is less than other forms of fundraising and income generation, with a drop of around 15 to 20 per cent overall.
Messages of “solve, don’t sell” and “token is broken” came through strongly from subject matter specialists from The Xfactor Collective community, and were reinforced by a live interview with Beyond Blue which showed how they have deepened relationships with partners over the last eight weeks.
During the show, a live poll revealed where organisations were experiencing the most angst: with 63 per cent most concerned about where or how to find new partners; 51 per cent feeling concerned about their being less cash in corporate budgets; 33 per cent unsure how to retain sponsors if events don’t run; and 19 per cent noticing that their partners were pulling back.
The key messages from corporate partnerships specialist Linda Garnett and stakeholder engagement and disaster specialist Renae Hanvin were to nurture relationships, focus on impact alongside actual (not perceived) need, leverage your expertise and look at the meaningful content you have to share and offer, the importance now more than ever of a partnership framework, thinking more creatively about stakeholders, investing in relationship development, and being laser sharp on the alignment and partnership purpose.
For Linda Smith, head of partnerships at Beyond Blue, the experience with partners over the last three months had been very diverse. They have had one partner stand down their whole partnerships team and another stand down their whole workforce as a result of mandated shut downs. Some partners have reached out to Beyond Blue to ask for help for the mental wellbeing of their staff, and others wanted to use their channels to help get Beyond Blue’s information out to their audiences and customers.
Among many things discussed, Linda talked about the dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service that Beyond Blue created to provide specific information and support during the pandemic (available on 1800 512 348 and coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au). Linda also spoke about the importance of having a clearly defined value proposition and asset list, and suggested that other organisations might think more creatively and widely about the knowledge they have and how that can form a strong basis of a partnership.
Watch the case study interview below:
You can also access the full recording here.
Key take-outs from the Beyond Blue interview with Linda Smith
- Relationships: “We had our CEO and our general manager call all our partners to check in on them, and to demonstrate that we really do value the partnerships. This wasn’t something that was just out of the blue because we’ve made sure that we’ve established relationships at different levels and touch points with our partners.”
- Contracts and new commitments: “We also had a few of our existing partner contracts ending around the time that the pandemic was hitting. And I’m happy to say that, because of the strong relationships and genuine alignment that we do have with our corporate partners, actually all of our partners continued at the same level of support.”
- Partner Passion: “We’re seeing people within our partners’ organisation being really passionate about the partnership and that’s been so great. We have found with some of our partners that it’s actually been other parts of the business that have come up with some really great initiatives that we’ve been able to do in the partnership.”
- Opportunities at this time: “There are definitely opportunities out there, but it’s about doing your research. Just really understanding what your value proposition is and what you’ve got to offer is really important, and having conversations to find out what are the pain points of the business and how you can potentially help them with that. I think that’s a really nice conversation starter as opposed to ringing up and just asking for funds up front.”
RESET 2020 National Research and Support Program is an initiative of The Xfactor Collective. The free online live shows and case study interviews are responding to the feedback from the research study, and are designed to support organisations in this time of change and transformation. The first phase of the research study closes 31 May.
For the next case study, Swinburne’s director of development Belinda Collins joins the RESET 2020 program today at 11am to share why Swinburne decided not to shy away from their fundraising over the past two months and reinforce that the greatest priority is connecting with and supporting donors through this period.