Despite all the doom and gloom of the cost-of-living crisis, one phrase keeps going through my mind:
“Out of darkness cometh light.”
This is the motto of the city of Wolverhampton, where my parents come from. It’s an optimistic and hopeful message, which feels so appropriate right now. That’s because corporate-charity partnerships are a huge opportunity in the crisis. We saw it in the pandemic and we will see it again now.
So if you’re a charity leader or a corporate fundraiser, then we strongly urge you to seize this opportunity by following our recommendations below.
Companies who make a difference will benefit
In times of crisis we expect companies to make a difference. And companies who make an extraordinary response will prosper. They will win the “brand game” because their reputation will be enhanced. They will also win the “people game” because their colleagues will feel proud to work for a company who genuinely cares. We saw this with the partnership between Gymshark and Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital Charity, where the sportswear brand agreed to donate £5 to everybody who shared a #NHSSweatySelfie after doing exercise. This hugely successful partnership generated almost 36,000 selfie uploads and donated £180k to the charity.
Engage companies on the cost-of-living crisis
The cost-of-living crisis is the top priority for business leaders right now. They are particularly keen to ensure their colleagues feel supported during this tough time. This means that if you want to approach them you should do so in the context of the crisis. We recommend you brainstorm a tailored opportunity for each of your key partners and top prospects. Then you can approach each of them in turn and say, “we have an opportunity that we believe is perfect for your company. This opportunity will not only help you engage your target audience during the cost-of living crisis, it will also help you emerge stronger because consumers and colleagues will love your brand for being so purpose driven.”
Focus on shared purpose
For companies to be successful they need to identify and demonstrate the reason they exist, beyond just making money. This purpose becomes even more important in a crisis. This is because it’s vital that companies show they are part of the solution rather than the problem. Given the importance of purpose we recommend you engage companies on your shared purpose with them. This is your unique and compelling focus for partnering together. You can find your shared purpose by putting the company mission next to your charity mission, then look for your shared intention.
Own your commercial value
In a recession business leaders become much more focused on the bottom line. So all the activity that feels like “nice to have” is put on hold and they focus on reducing costs and maximising revenue. Therefore you want to make sure that your partnership opportunity is related directly to their bottom line and doesn’t feel like a nice to have. You can do this by brainstorming the big commercial benefits you can deliver for companies. For example, a hospice in the West Midlands could say, “our partnership opportunity will position your company as a champion of caring for families in the West Midlands.”
See the opportunity
Seizing partnership opportunities in the crisis isn’t just about what you do, it’s about how you make people feel. We recommend that you encourage your team, colleagues, prospects and partners to focus on what’s possible. Indeed, many charities secured hugely successful corporate partnerships in the pandemic. For example, Carers Trust secured a major partnership with Bloom and Wild. For every “Florist’s Pick” bouquet the company donates 15% of profit to the charity. The partnership started in October 2020, and so far it has raised an incredible £535k to provide carers with practical support and training.
We are offering charities a free one-hour brainstorm to help you seize partnerships opportunities in the cost-of-living crisis. To book your free brainstorm please email firstname.lastname@example.org