Five significant learnings from 2020

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
– Robert Schuller

2020 has been a year of constant surprises. On 1st January no-one expected that their year would be turned on its head by a global pandemic. Nevertheless, we have been overwhelmed by how humanity has responded.

We’re seen game-changing partnerships built and delivered. We’ve seen communities come together and we’ve all felt the need to build a better future.

This year has been a steep a learning curve. So we thought it appropriate to share our 5 five significant learnings from 2020.

New business is a team game

Being responsible for creating new corporate partnerships can be quite a lonely experience even in an office environment. Often, you’re expected to conjure partnerships out of thin air, with limited support from the rest of your charity. One partnerships manager described their experience as making chips – “everyone wants the chips, but no-one wants to help me peel the potatoes.”

This year, we have seen that the best corporate partnerships approaches have been creative, considered and tailored for the prospect. This work is much easier to do in groups, or even in pairs, so we strongly recommend you book in brainstorms with a colleague or volunteer every week to keep those creative juices flowing.

By having more hands peeling the potatoes, you’ll be able to make many more chips! See more guidance from Remarkable Partnerships on how to secure internal partnerships here.

The importance of goal setting

When Tom Daley was just nine years old, he drew a picture called “My Ambition”, showing himself in a handstand on a diving board, with the Olympic rings on either side. Nine years later his ambition became a reality at the London 2012 Olympics, where he won a bronze medal which included a dive starting from a handstand. It’s hard to imagine a more powerful example of the importance of goal-setting, which has become one of our most important themes during the pandemic.

Keeping focused on what is possible has never been more important. We have a WhatsApp Group of over 100 corporate partnerships professionals. Every Monday, we ask our WhatsApp group of 100+ corporate partnerships professionals to share their goals for the week. On Friday, we ask everyone to share what they’ve achieved. Nothing lifts us more than seeing people make little steps every week that often result in big wins. With all this uncertainty around us it is so empowering to realise that when we take time to write our goals down and our plan to achieve them, we can blow even ourselves away.

The power of authenticity

2020 has been the year where we have all seen into each other’s homes. No longer can people keep up their purely professional work image, when in the background your children are causing havoc. It has been the year of authenticity, where being your true self was the only way to be. This has brought huge value to the relationships that we have with colleagues, partners and prospects. We would strongly recommend that even when we are back to seeing each other in person, that this authentic relationship building continues. Ask questions, and truly listen to the responses.

Relationships are built on trust, and only when we give some of ourselves away, do we open up for the other person to share their true authentic selves. One of the positives that has come from this crazy year is the chance for you to be you. Whatever role you are in, however senior, none of that matters when we are just people, connected around a common goal.

There’s light in the darkest times.

Wolverhampton is a city close to our hearts, and their city motto is “out of darkness cometh light.” This feels like it could have been written especially for the pandemic.

There has been so much sadness in the last nine months. Shocking reports from care homes, not being able to see our families and friends. So much of which we’ve taken for granted is no longer a possibility.

And yet there have been so many positive stories, including Jo Wickes, Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford. Deep in the darkness people want to make a difference, because they realise there are always people worse off than them. It is psychologically proven that people look to give, and that giving makes us happy.

Our job is to give people to the opportunity to make the difference they want to see in the world. So despite the fact that Covid-19 has hit business hard, we are seeing corporate-charity partnerships being formed quicker than ever, such as the inspirational partnership between GymShark and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Out of darkness cometh light indeed.

The enduring power of stories.

We’ve always believed in the power of stories to connect people to your cause, but that has never been truer than it has been this year. Every single charity that we spoke to throughout the year had been impacted by COVID-19, and this created a new sense of urgency that came through in their stories.

One of our favourite examples of this came from Save the Rhino International. They told us that one of their longest standing rangers had said that due to the impact of coronavirus on their conditions, they were starting to wonder if they may be better off as a poacher. They had dedicated their life to protecting rhinos, but they were starting to wonder if that was enough. In a single sentence, this crystalised the importance of supporting Save the Rhino right now, and this story led to an incredible partnership with an outdoor equipment company focussed on International Ranger Day.

As charities, we are rich in meaning and stories are our greatest weapon. We strongly recommend taking forward a passion for storytelling through into 2021 – you’ll see your results transform.

If you want to start 2021 with some key learnings of your own, we’re delighted to announce that there are still some places on our New Business Crash Course – check it out and book your place here.

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