In over two decades of matchmaking companies with causes, I’ve witnessed a consistent error that non-profits make which prevents them from even securing a meeting with a prospective corporate partner. Here’s the problem: they view a corporate (that includes a company or brand) as a ‘donor’ with just one purse (budget), when in fact, there’s four purses. Additionally, non-profits often see that purse as holding just money, when there’s usually many more valuable resources that you can access. These include promotion to millions of customers (promoting your brand and also, where relevant, behaviour-changing messaging), campaigning, product (GIK), specialist skills and services, contacts and creative agencies - all of which could be potentially transformative for your non-profit.
Just like the government has numerous departments and therefore many budgets, or an individual might donate from different purses (their will, salary, or family trust) so do corporates. Consequently, with corporates, it’s essential to know which purse you’re targeting (or, if you’re fortunate enough to have corporates approach you, which purse they represent) because the purse type dictates their motivation for investing. Once you know which purse you’re dealing with, you’ll know the language that’ll resonate with the purse-holder and what outcomes they want to achieve. Once this is clear, you’ll know exactly what to include in your proposal and how activities will be measured. The golden key that unlocks all this vital information is in the job title of the person you’re dealing with. Yes! Who knew something as simple as this would reveal so much!?
However, time and again throughout my experience, I’ve seen non-profits struggle to get a meeting, or progress a partnership discussion, because they didn’t know the job title of the ideal person to approach or understand the purse they control.
The 4 purses
We have identified that there are actually four distinct corporate purses that changemakers can target for resources. The Four Purses are: 1) Human Resources, 2) Philanthropy, 3) Corporate Social Responsibility, and 4) Marketing.
We’ve separated them for the purposes of explaining in each purse (next week’s blog) but in reality, within some companies, there is a blurring of the purse boundaries, or a collaboration between them – sometimes all four. In organisations with a sophisticated & well-developed CSR strategy, HR and CSR teams can work together. Often you’ll see the marketing purse (4) fund a campaign for a charity partner that’s also supported by the company’s Foundation (2) and staff (1).
The essential thing is to understand that each purse has a different motivation, vocabulary, and criteria for a partnership with a non-profit, social enterprise or cause. Keeping the ‘4 Purses’ top of mind will help you to determine WHY they want to partner with you, WHAT language and conversation style is best to use from the outset, and WHAT they’ll want in return. This knowledge will prevent frustrating, time-wasting conversations and get you to a ‘YES’ much quicker than you ever thought possible.
Download this infographic that provides clear details for each of the 4 purses and starting next week, I’ll be diving into, and unpacking, each purse. Stay tuned!