Now we are in the cost-of-living crisis it has never been so important to maximise your corporate partnerships potential by building strong internal partnerships. Our experience shows that involving your colleagues is probably the greatest factor determining your success. Partnerships often demand short deadlines and have ambitious targets, so you need to ensure everyone is onboard. So here are our five recommendations to build strong internal partnerships.
1.Gain support from the top
I’d love to say that gaining organisational buy-in was a given, however we all know that it takes work. After all you need senior support to overcome the barriers created by hybrid working and different priorities across teams. During my time at Carers UK our CEO and Director of Fundraising were committed to corporate partnerships and championed them across the organisation. In return we ensured we were responsible with their time and used it wisely for engaging senior corporate contacts and to have those difficult conversations.
2. Involve colleagues from start to finish
You can’t be master of all trades. Your colleagues are experts in their field, so use them. Work with them to brainstorm ideas, attend meetings and ultimately help deliver partnerships. Your partnership isn’t always going to be on the top of their to do list, so ensure you get their buy-in right from the start. Engage them in the development of the partnership and explore ways to create partnership opportunities. For example, could the company offer pro-bono support to help your colleagues achieve their objectives, such as reaching a wider audience?
3. Acknowledge the collaborators
When it works, shout about it. Be sure to mention to line managers, in internal comms or at appropriate meetings when colleagues have been particularly helpful. Build allies across teams to help you achieve your objectives. For big projects, set up working groups to ensure key people are engaged. It may be that an introduction from a colleague helps you build a new partnership, so make sure they get the credit they deserve.
4. Share success
When you engage with a target contact, or secure a meeting with a prospect, or receive positive feedback from a corporate, these are all achievements worth recognising. We recommend you share each of these little wins with your colleagues via your internal communications channels. In a previous role we would share handwritten notes that we would clip on to colleagues’ desks.
5. Internal partnerships table
Now for one of my favourite tools the Internal Partnerships Table. On this table you create a list of the priority teams and then you meet with them to establish what you want from them and what they need from you in return. By truly understanding what colleagues want and how best to communicate with them, you will be able to build strong internal relationships. These relationships will be essential when you are faced with a short deadline or an unexpected challenge with one of your corporate partners.
We hope you have found this blog interesting and insightful. If you want to build stronger internal partnerships, then you might be interested in attending one of our training courses which are listed here.