More than money – what to value in a corporate partnership

This piece is brought to you by a guest writer – Katherine Woods.  Katherine is the Partnership Development Lead at Action for Children and is currently setting up the charity’s first standalone New Business Team. Here’s what she had to say about the non-financial value your partners can bring:

I find the corporate-partnership world really exciting. It’s evolved massively over the past few years and continues to do so. Today, the most successful partnerships are multi-faceted. They have touchpoints across all aspects of the business. And they don’t simply rely on fundraising as the sole piece of activity.

Andy at Remarkable Partnerships asked me to outline what I see as the main non-financial benefits that a partner can provide. So here’s what I look at in partnerships:

  1. Reach

There is a reason that big consumer brands spend millions of pounds on advertising annually. Visibility is key.

But there are very few charities that have those kind of budgets.

Which is why a partnership can hold such great potential for a charity brand – from growing your reach generally to showcasing your cause in front of a specific audience. Whatever your organisation’s mission, having more opportunities to see your brand will only help further this. The more people that know who you are and what you do, the more they will be inclined to support you.

For example, we are incredibly lucky at Action for Children because our friends at FirstGroup are very generous with their advertising space. We are given huge amounts of visibility across their network. They enable us to publicise our key campaigns in a way that we simply wouldn’t be able to do without them.

2. In Kind

Back to the lack of budget. There are a range of ways that a company can help a charity plug the lack-of-budget gap by donating resource, such as event space or legal expertise. These are opportunities for the company to support you with the cause itself.

Not only does it help the charity, but it can give your partner’s employees another way of being part of the partnership that doesn’t involve them asking friends and family for money.

But! It has to really make sense. It has to be authentic. There’s nothing worse than trying to create an ‘in kind’ opportunity that doesn’t really work for both sides.

3. Network

Over the course of a partnership you have the potential to ignite a passion for your cause in people.

As fundraisers, we do a good job of telling people how amazing our charities are. Imagine if you had someone else doing that for you. A peer-to-peer introduction carries a lot of weight and can open doors, helping you achieve bigger and better things.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some very dedicated, passionate and influential senior volunteers over the years. They are often totally wonderful individuals and can be a huge asset to your organisation. Maximise this potential!

Overall, there is a huge amount corporate partners can do for you – so stop just asking for cash.

We love this piece from Katherine. Our view is that when you choose to focus partnerships on overall value rather than purely cash donations, you get more fulfilling partnerships for both parties. Equally, partnerships that begin with a non-financial contribution are more likely to succeed because they begin by focussing on solving problems, which is what they should be about.

If you have any comments or suggested comments for future blogs, we’d love to hear from you below.

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