Preparing for Corporate Partnerships
Today’s companies understand the value of being involved in communities. On the other hand, at the end of the day they’re in the business of making money, whatever their business is. A corporate cause partnership is a relationship that’s mutually beneficial, helping a for-profit better achieve its bottom line and a nonprofit its mission. That said, following tried-and-true guidance for building partnerships from the get-go is crucial.
Jocelyne Daw is vice president of the Imagine Canada Caring Company program and author of “Cause Marketing for Nonprofits: Partner for Purpose, Passion and Profits.” She advises a nonprofit that is new to corporate partnering to imagine that it has 10 seconds to clearly define its cause, then analyze what it can bring to a corporate partnership.
“It isn’t just about you going to a corporation … looking for corporate donations,” Daw says. “This is looking for something where you want to partner with a company on a bigger scale than just getting money. So really you’ve got to step back and do some sort of internal thinking and preparation of who you are and what it is you can bring.”
Nonprofits have very valuable assets that can help a company achieve bottom-line results. Some are “soft” things like employee pride or engagement. Others are tangible, like helping a company with sales.
At this point you can begin researching to find companies that are an obvious fit. It’s key to research companies before approaching them, so that you have a very clear idea of what they are and don’t waste their time.
“You’ve got to be able to — in a 10-second phone call trying to set up a meeting — explain to them what it is that you can do to help them,” Daw says.
Make sure you understand what their needs are and what you can do to help them achieve their goals and objectives, while at the same time “not turning yourself into a pretzel to achieve goals for them without achieving goals for yourself.”