Top Tips to creating effective corporate partnerships

A strong corporate-charity partnership is a powerful way to unlock opportunities, form key relationships, attract funding and gain longer-term support for your organisation.

Small charities play a distinct and vital role in building stronger communities and addressing some of our most persistent social challenges. That’s why Aviva works to unlock their potential by finding, funding and empowering small charities to face the future with confidence.

One way we’re doing this is through partnerships. We know that developing strong and fruitful corporate partnerships can be challenging – particularly for resource-stretched, time-poor grassroots organisations. Yet, they have the potential to fundamentally change the trajectory of your organisation.  So, we’ve distilled three fundamentals to getting corporate-charity partnerships right.

Focus on relationship building, over transactional fundraising

Lucrative, strategic partnerships take time. Focus on thoroughly researching each company and the right people to connect with, so you can develop a proposition tailored to their corporate responsibility focus and wider business objectives.

Work as a team and focus on warm prospects. Relationship building shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of fundraisers within your organisation, it’s everyone’s role to get out there, build strong relationships and tap into the connections you already have. Cold approaches rarely bear fruit, so it’s important to only consider how you can meet your contact in person – this really goes a long way.

This type of strategic partnership beyond transactional fundraising is certainly a longer-term game, however the time invested will pay off when the opportunity is ripe.

Think beyond funding and be open-minded  

So often, the first thing charities think about in partnerships is the funding opportunities. To make the most of a strategic partnership it’s important to consider other opportunities and resources you could tap into, such as skills development, IT/software, office space, staff volunteering, and more.

Many corporates out there offer capacity building and resource support, for instance Aviva runs a Facebook Group called Aviva Community Group, where charities of all shapes and sizes can join to share ideas, network with like-minded people, and get advice from experts in the sector. The key with partnership opportunities that go beyond funding is to ensure they’re shaped by clear expectations and mutually beneficial outcomes.

Demonstrate your passion

No partnership ‘pitch’ is static, so when you’re approaching a prospective corporate partner make sure your key messages and story will resonate – speak their language (it’s easy to get stuck in the habit of using industry-specific buzz words…) and make sure you clearly articulate how the partnership will solve challenges they may be facing.

Demonstrate your passion about why you love what you do and the difference you’re making in the community. One of the oldest maxims of fundraising is that “people don’t give to causes; they give to people with causes”. And, this is still true today. The most memorable stories that really shine are those by individuals who have a personal connection, an authentic relationship to the cause they’re promoting.

This blog was written by Nina Stott, Senior Manager | Corporate Responsibility Storytelling & Engagement at Aviva.

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