Probably the greatest factor determining your corporate partnerships’ success is your ability to involve your internal colleagues. However, because these are relationships with your colleagues, you can easily fall into the trap of believing that they should automatically partner with you. In our experience these strong relationships don’t occur naturally, they need to be earned. So here are our five recommendations to secure organisational buy-in:
Most partnerships professionals are naturally people pleasers, and therefore we want to ensure that everyone is on board with our ideas before progressing them. However, there are often only two or three key stakeholders that make or break a decision – identifying who these linchpins are and make them your priority for building strong internal relationships.
- Shared purpose
For everyone in your organisation, your ultimate goal is to deliver your charity’s purpose. Ambitious corporate partnerships can really help you deliver that purpose. So, we recommend you build your internal partnerships based on that shared purpose. Show your colleagues how companies have the resources to deliver incredible impact for your beneficiaries and you create emotional engagement and secure their buy-in.
- Involve colleagues in brainstorms
Inviting colleagues to brainstorms on priority industries and prospect ideas will help them feel joint ownership of your partnerships approach. As Seth Godin says “ownership trumps buy-in”. The best way to involve key internal colleagues is include them from the start. Together you can create the game-changing partnerships your cause deserves.
- Create an ambitious goal
If you can create an overall corporate partnership goal – such as Solar Aid’s “End the Darkness” campaign, where they are partnering with companies to bring 600 million people out of the darkness by 2030 – you will find it much easier to rally colleagues. You may even find that your corporate partnerships goal becomes the goal of the whole organisation, which will ensure that corporate partnerships are seen as essential for achieving your charity’s purpose.
- Share success
Once you start progressing prospects and partnerships, we strongly recommend continuing to involve your colleagues by keeping them regularly informed of progress. This will reassure them that you appreciate their time and expertise and are acting on it. This will make them much more likely to say yes to being involved in the future. Most important of all, when you achieve success, such as booking a meeting or securing a partner, share that success with them. After all you couldn’t have done it without them.
All the experts agree that the quality of your external partnerships is hugely dependent on the quality of your internal ones. So, make it your goal to be brilliant at creating partnerships both inside and out – we know from experience that this will transform your success.