Identifying corporate prospects is a little like prospecting for alluvial gold. You can’t just expect to walk up any old mountain river and low and behold, ‘there’s gold in them there hills!’ You need knowledge and history of the terrain, as well as the geology. You need to have the right equipment and approach in the right season (when the water is low, and gold is easier to access). And you need three more things – preparedness to work hard, the ability to think on your feet and a dollop of good luck.
When I first started working in corporate partnerships, in 1991 at the NSPCC in London, I was an enthusiastic but green prospector. I was fortunate to be representing a cause and charity that was well renowned and that helped, as many corporate prospects came to us. But boy did I waste time!
When I came to Australia I truly saw the corporate sector as a mountain. One single mountain. And realising that there were actually four peaks to a mountain range really helped me to focus. We call these the Four Purses (download free infographic here).
Understanding all the mountain peaks is imperative, and this article in F&P magazine, September 2021, describes the 4 purses in detail. This will give you knowledge but then you need the right equipment or in this case - the right tools.
This month our students are learning our Prospecting process, which I’ve honed, refined, and enhanced since my days in London 40 years ago. A simple process that became highly sophisticated and then, too complex. I realised it was something that wasn’t easy to grasp, or teach, or take with you through life. It’s then that I realised that it needed to be Sophisticated as well as Simple.
The prospecting process that we teach today is called the ‘Bullseye formula’ and it has four parts.
Part one involves colleagues think-tanking to identify prospects that have synergy with your organisation across 7 – 8 distinct categories. This creates an unwieldly list of several hundred suspects that may look impressive on paper, but what on earth do you do with them all?
Part two is a process of refinement, based on our simple formula, so that you end up with a manageable list of 20-30 Prospects. At this point, it’s a good idea to discuss the appropriateness of some prospects, and if the conversation is heated, then it suggests that a ‘no-go’ policy is probably something you need.
In part three we provide a robust template for profiling those 20-30 prospects to understand their history and determine if they are a Hot, Warm or Cold prospect. This step is the difference between sifting gold through a rugged metal circular dish, to a sieve you might use at home for draining pasta.
Part four we show you how to create two Hot Lists for approaching appropriate prospects at the right time. This avoids you ascending the mountain in winter when corporates (and their pots of gold) are hidden by snow.
Too many non-profits waste a lot of time (as I did once) chasing rocks and missing the gold. Simply because gold is a little harder to find and takes skill and the right tools.
This is Step 3 in our robust 7-step process that enables changemakers to prepare for and win transformative, mutually beneficial corporate partnerships & sponsorships. Download the 7-step process here and watch Hailey explain each step in a 30-minute webinar recording here.
Want to know if your organisation is ready to implement a corporate partnerships strategy? Take our Readiness Q&A to find out.