When embarking on a corporate partnerships strategy, it’s critical to know that there are two levels of readiness. Often when non-profits and social enterprises consider commencing a corporate partnerships strategy, their first action is to ask the board for contacts within the business sector. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s something that should be done way down the track, and certainly not at the start.
Why? Because there is a conversation to be had prior to engaging your Board in a strategy that could be doomed to fail, damaging your team’s credibility in their eyes and wasting their time and contacts.
What’s the conversation?
The conversation starts with three questions.
1) Are we ORGANISATIONALLY ready to pursue corporate partnerships
2) are we PARTNER ready so that our investment will produce a result and
3) WHY do we want a corporate partner?
If you haven’t asked these questions start now.
After the pandemic, and whilst companies are rebuilding their businesses to adapt to the new normal, securing corporate partnerships is tougher than ever. So, you need to be more prepared than ever, and stand out from the myriad of non-profits that are approaching corporates – unprepared and with their hand out for money.
Are we organisationally ready?
There’s a fast way of identifying whether your organisation is ready, from a free online readiness Q&A, created from my 20+ years of experience working with thousands of non-profits keen to land a partner. Give it a go here.
The Q&A covers everything from clarity around your organisation’s Mission and brand; your competence around storytelling and marketing; your Board’s attitude and mindset; whether you have an appropriate person to drive the strategy, and so on.
Are we partner ready?
To be partner ready, you must have everything prepared ahead of time, it’s too late once you’re sitting in front of a prospect, they won’t wait for you! Key resources required include cataloguing your assets and placing a market value on them. How else can you package up a partnership proposal with an investment figure at the end? By the way, never ever use the word ‘ask’ - it’s fundraising language and won’t resonate with corporates who want mutual benefit. Another vital action is to value your organisation’s brand, so that YOU can set the minimum guarantee in a brand aligned partnership/CRM, not the corporate.
Why do we want a corporate partner?
It’s essential to seek out partners that align to your Vision & Mission, rather than see a corporate partner as simply a cash donor. If you’d like to workshop this with your team, we have a free exercise that you can do here – with guidance on video, a supporting booklet and fabulous template.
 Cause-related marketing