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5 lessons on forging successful corporate partnerships

A corporate partnership can help your charity amplify its impact – when approached strategically.

Since 2002, GlobalGiving has helped hundreds of not-for-profit organisations connect with businesses to achieve their joint goals.

Here are five lessons we’ve learned from working with pioneering companies over the last 16 years, which your charity can apply to attract corporate partnerships.

Use trust indicators

It’s really important to appear as a trustworthy partner when embarking on a new partnership opportunity. One way to achieve this is to build a good presence online. Your website should clearly articulate your organisation’s mission, so that someone visiting would understand what you do within 10 seconds.

Harnessing the power of social media is also an essential step to establishing your organisation as a living, breathing entity. Use your online presence to show the world your work through photos, stories, and testimonials from the people you serve. You could also consider displaying badges or accolades from reputable charity evaluation services on your website.

Tell your impact story

Corporate partners will generally be looking to connect with charities that align with their business purpose or expertise, so it’s important to be able to demonstrate your impact clearly and succinctly.

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One way to do this is to commit to continually monitoring your impact – whether you use a theory of change or set out an annual plan, you’ll need to be able to communicate your organisation’s intended impact and highlight key metrics to demonstrate your success. Having a recent annual report with facts and figures combined with stories or first-hand accounts from the people you serve can help to convert a corporate donor to your cause.

Do your research

Just as corporates are on the lookout for good-fit not-for-profits, you should also be looking for businesses that support your mission.

Visit the website of local organisations and do research on their sustainability and CSR programmes. Do they support charities that work in your area of need? Think about what you can offer before approaching them for the first time. For example, do you have volunteering opportunities that local office staff can get involved in?

Identify good fit

Network mapping is a great exercise for visualising connections and finding links to businesses or organisations that might be interested in your work.

Employees at corporate workplaces are vital representatives who could advocate on behalf of your charity. Many businesses ask for recommendations from employees when deciding which not-for-profit to support as their “charity of the year”.

It’s important to target companies that are supportive of your cause and/or share your vision. For example, GlobalGiving partner CDI Apps for Good recently partnered with EPAM, a software development company, after identifying that software companies were a natural fit with their mission.

Nurture your relationships

As is true with any form of fundraising, it’s important to remain positive, learn from the feedback you receive and the meetings and conversations that you have. Aim to incorporate your learning into your future outreach strategy.

Corporate partnerships are a two-way process and can take a while to yield tangible results. Consider opportunities to involve company employees in your organisation to maintain momentum throughout the partnership. Schedule regular check-ins, share interesting information and updates about your work and keep key contacts connected to your organisation by inviting them to community events and any opportunities to see the work first hand.

GlobalGiving invites charities and community groups to join GlobalGiving’s platform via the September Accelerator programme, a digital fundraising training programme that provides digital fundraising training and entry in to a crowdfunding campaign to raise ¬£4,000 for a chosen project. Graduates of the programmes become permanent partners on the GlobalGiving platform and will gain access to additional corporate funding and training opportunities.

To apply, click here. The deadline to apply is 1st August.

For more tips and case studies about partnerships, join Bond at the Funding for Development conference on 8 October.