Bain & Company research shows that “It can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one”, therefore it is really important as corporate partnership professionals to maintain and grow our existing partnerships, and then to harness those partners to promote your charity to likeminded companies.
When roles are busy and the pressure of new business targets and the budget are upon us, it is natural to think of which new companies can be approached to help achieve those goals, but what if the solution to your problem is right in front of you, with your existing partnerships.
It’s not to say that new business shouldn’t be focused on, because of course it should, but we recommend you take on board our recommendations for exploring the potential growth from your existing partnerships and balance these actions alongside your new business goals.
To begin, firstly, you need to know what your current partners think about your charity. One of the greatest tools that we recommend to get feedback from your partners is by using a Net Promoter Survey (NPS). NPS is a globally used market research metric that takes the form of a short survey asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend your charity to others.
The outcome of the NPS gives your charity an overall score, and divides respondents into three different categorises. Firstly, detractors, people who wouldn’t recommend your charity to others to partner with, the second being passives. These partnerships are at high risk of being lost if your contact moves on, as it is likely that just your day to day contacts support your partnership. The third and final category is the promoters who would recommend you internally and externally, they are your true champions.
The image below shows how these categories are split up depending on their score out of 10.
With our wealth of experience managing charity-corporate partnerships, the Remarkable Partnerships team have put together five recommendations for how to convert any partner in to a promoter, and how to shift your partnerships up the scale to ensure your partners will stay loyal to your charity and continue to grow their support.
1 – Regular review meetings
Ensure you keep up regular honest communication with your partners by having monthly or quarterly review meetings. You may want to include what is going well, and what challenges the partnership is facing, so that each month you can discuss these things. Remember to plan your meetings face to face where possible so you can really listen to your partner and understand their feedback.
2 – Pitch to your partners
Often we don’t feel we have permission to pitch to our current partners, but why should all the new and exciting opportunities be kept for new partners? We recommend that you use their feedback from the NPS, and from your review meetings, to really listen to what is important to them, and how your charity can continue to meet their business needs. For example, if one of their current business challenges is about keeping employees engaged and motivated whilst still working at home then what is the virtual engagement event or fundraising activity that you could pitch to solve this?
3 – Engagement events
Virtual or face to face events are still a brilliant way of engaging a wider network from across your corporate partnership. Consider getting a key speaker from your charity that is able to give an inspiring update on the impact of your work, or invite a beneficiary to tell their story of how your charity has changed their life. An event with no fundraising call-to-action can inspire key stakeholders and help embedded your charity in to their organisation.
4 – Speaker events
Keep your day to day contacts close to your work by asking them to speak alongside you at conferences and events. Understanding your partners business perspective can be really valuable to be alongside your charity views at panel events or conference sessions. Inviting them to join you on these occasions can refresh their memory on the big picture of your partnership, and keep them focused on the ‘why’ your partnership exists. Co-speaking events like this also give an opportunity for the company to promote the session (and therefore the partnership) on their social media channels, which increases your charities profile amongst their network.
5 – Ask them for a testimonial
Similar to speaker events, it is only when our partners stop and reflect on your partnership do they take the time to see the huge importance that your charity has on their company mission. By asking the CEO or senior contact at your partner for a video or written testimonial where you are able to hear what they really think of the partnership. You could use the content in pitches or proposals to new partners that you are seeking. You could also ask your current partner to speak on the phone to a prospective partner to get them to hear what the reality of partnership with your charity is like.
We encourage you to once a year use NPS to review your current partnerships and see what space for growth potential there is. Then to take the necessary action to address any concerns, and implement positive actions to build trust and loyalty, resulting increasing your NPC score.
Earlier this year the Remarkable Partnerships team took our own advice and ran an NPS survey for our own clients. We were delighted that we received an NPS score of +75. A score about 50 is acknowledged as excellent and that client satisfaction is high. To compare, Apple has a score of +68, Amazon +62 and Netflix +68!
If you want to learn more about exceptional account management to deliver results for your charity, why not join us on our Account Management Crash course to transform your partners into corporate champions. Our next course is running on the 23rd, 25th and 30th November, find out more here: https://www.remarkablepartnerships.com/event/account-management-crash-course/
If there’s anything we can help with, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org