The challenge 

Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) had previously had success with a handful of corporate supporters and were aware of the potential value corporate partnerships held for their charity. However, they lacked the head space, capacity or tools to seize the opportunities in front of them.  

Because of this, most of their existing relationships were transactional or ad hoc. They’d had one major partnership in the past, but they did not know how to repeat that success – or how to start up new partnerships with others. As a very small team they were doing their best to manage with limited tools and resources. 

At the start of the pandemic, with their event income stream hit, SOS Director Helen realised they needed to grow corporate income quickly. Therefore, she asked Remarkable Partnerships to help kickstart their corporate partnerships programme. 


The solution 

To create the foundation of SOS’s corporate partnerships programme, we began with a series of workshops with the existing team.  

We were able to co-create a compelling partnership offer, focussing on the human impact of their cause. SOS went from transactional pitches about the number of trees they could plant to pitching the ability to transform livelihoods. They started to own the value they could bring a company – their partnership made the brand planet positive.  

Next we identified their priority industries – those which could make a significant difference to SOS’ mission, whilst also solving problems for that industry. We did contact mapping within these industries to identify ten companies that could build transformational partnerships. With only ten prospects to work on, the time-poor team were clear about what each company was being offered and what the next step was at any given time. This focus gave SOS the momentum and confidence they needed to start securing partnerships at scale. 

To make the most of these opportunities, we then looked at existing partnerships and the SOS website, to help grow their online following. This included running competitions on social media with their partners, getting their brand onto supermarket shelves and more.  

Finally, we worked with SOS to review their due diligence process, to ensure that only the best and most reputable opportunities were pursued. This ensures that partnerships create a ‘halo effect’ rather than causing any issues – which has meant more like-minded supporters have approached SOS with every public partnership. 


Key benefits 

The results of this work have been remarkable– in the second year of their formal corporate partnerships programme, they are projecting income of £450,000 and are receiving huge non-financial value in the brand exposure offered by key partners. 

SOS has transformed ad hoc relationships into strategic, long-term partnerships. This includes reactivating their previous partnership with Lush, formalising their partnership with Whole Earth and securing a brand new partnership which is doubling in size year on year. The team are able to focus on the biggest opportunities, and are now fine-tuning their corporate partnerships programme to support the growth of individual giving.  

We couldn’t be prouder of the work that we’ve done with Sumatran Orangutan Society – who are achieving their mission towards wild orangutans thriving in resilient forests with greater certainty than ever.