How to identify your 5-star prospects
Written by Jonathan Andrews.
This is a blog about what works. When Learning with Parents identified their 5-star prospects, IG Group was top of their list. Within two years they secured a three-year partnership worth £750k.
When you want to build corporate partnerships, it seems logical that you need a long prospect list. After all, the more prospects the better, right? Wrong! Our experience shows that long prospect lists make corporate fundraisers lose focus, feel overwhelmed and struggle to deliver results.
We recommend you have a short list of target corporate prospects. Approximately 10 per corporate fundraiser is a good number. So how do you decide which corporate prospects go on your list? We recommend you identify your 5-star prospects as described below:
- Shared purpose
The first feature of your ideal corporate prospects is shared purpose. This means that when look at the company’s mission and your charity’s mission you can that there is some common ground. IG Group and Learning with Parents have a very strong shared purpose, because they both know that financial literacy helps people fulfil their potential.
Focusing on prospects where you have a shared purpose not only increases your chances of securing them, but it also means you will create more ambitious partnerships. That’s because the partnership is built on your shared WHY. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
2. Contact at the company
When I started my career in corporate fundraising 25 years ago, people used to say that corporate fundraising success depends on who you know. And it is still true today. The CEO at Learning with Parents has a contact at IG Group. They met when they were on an interview panel together. This contact meant it was really straight forward to secure the first meeting.
The reason why contacts are so important can be explained by behavioural science. The Law of Liking says that we are much more likely to do business with someone that we like and trust.
3. Problem you can help solve
When you approach a company for a partnership it’s important to understand that they will have one question on their mind, “What’s in it for me?” If you can’t answer this question convincingly then it is highly unlikely that they will want to partner with you.
Learning with Parents has considerable value to offer IG Group because they have a strong shared purpose. This means the charity can help the company engage their employees and raise their profile with target customers, by highlighting their unique and inspirational purpose.
4. Resource to help solve your problems
The fourth feature of your ideal prospect is to make sure that the company has sufficient resources to help solve your problems. IG Group has considerable value to offer Learning with Parents. They are making a long-term financial contribution, raising the charity’s profile and they have valuable clients to whom they could make introductions. In fact, this partnership is game-changing for Learning with Parents.
When you think about a company’s resources it’s vital that you see all the value they have to offer, not just money. This is because companies don’t want to be seen as just bank accounts. They want genuine partnerships built on shared purpose. In fact, some of the most successful corporate-charity partnerships have started with non-financial support.
5. Realistic chance of success
The fifth feature of an ideal corporate prospect is they are realistic. When you think of your ideal partners it is very tempting to write down high profile companies such as HSBC, Microsoft, and Tesco. But the queue of charities wanting to partner with these companies is very long. So, we recommend you take a different approach and look for companies that are less well known. They can be harder to find, but you could be the only charity who is approaching them.
IG Group was a realistic prospect for Learning with Parents for three reasons: they had a contact; a strong shared purpose, and the company isn’t a household name.
We hope this blog inspires you to find your own 5-star prospects. It’s a great way to strengthen and refresh your new business pipeline. It will help you build more ambitious corporate partnerships. And it works!
If you want to have a conversation about how we can help you find your 5-star prospects, then you can book a 30-minute call with Jonathan using this link: https://meetings.hubspot.com/jonathan612/30-minute-virtual-coffee-on-zoom