This hasn’t been the start of the year that we’d hoped for. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and many countries across the world are in lockdown.
If you are a fundraising director or CEO of a charity, you could be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t much of a corporate partnerships opportunity right now. After all, many companies are really struggling. So perhaps you shouldn’t invest in corporate partnerships at the moment and maybe you should put some of the team on furlough.
Our response is don’t do that! There is a glimmer of light in the middle of this darkness. Because the corporate partnerships opportunity is ENORMOUS right now, for reasons that we explain below:
It’s time for purpose
This is the age of purpose. Purpose-driven business was important before the coronavirus arrived, but in the middle of the pandemic, it is more important than ever. That is because companies who have been saying that they are good corporate citizens and care for their community and employees are now under the spotlight. The following quote from McKinsey & Company sums it up brilliantly:
“the opportunity for businesses to make a… mark with human support, empathy and purpose, is greater than it has ever been.”
There are some brilliant examples of companies making an extraordinary response to the pandemic, such as Bloom & Wild’s inspirational new partnership with Carer’s Trust which is aiming to raise £150,000 over the next 12 months. Now is the time for companies to make a genuine and meaningful impact and a partnership with a charity is the perfect way make that happen.
Charities can help solve companies’ problems
Throughout the pandemic, companies are largely falling into two camps: those who are thriving (such as food delivery, gaming, technology and home fitness) and those who are struggling to survive (such as clothes retailers, travel and hospitality). Though we may think to focus our efforts on those companies doing well, there are significant opportunities with the struggling camp too.
These companies have major problems that your charity can help solve. For example, the pandemic has accelerated the move to digital as so much of our entertainment, communication and purchasing is taking place online. Many companies have a poor digital presence and they need to solve that problem quickly. However, social media posts about their products and services are likely to be quite boring, whereas partnering with a charity who shares their purpose could provide them with inspiring stories and meaningful content which will be much more engaging.
Business leaders want to make an extraordinary response
The first wave of the pandemic brought home to us how connected we are as a community – which led to individuals going out of their way to help others, country-wide claps for the NHS and the individuals at the top of businesses providing an extraordinary response to those in need. One of the best examples we saw was Gym Shark supporting Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital with their #SweatySelfie campaign. To date, it has raised over £180,000, and enabled hundreds of people to feel involved by making a difference.
Now we are in the second wave of the pandemic, it is vital that companies continue continue to respond. Charities are facing a huge challenge, because there is a rise in demand for their services and yet many fundraising activities have been cancelled. And many people can see that there are those who are worse off right now, so they feel a deep desire to provide support. These people include business leaders, who really want to provide an extraordinary response in the pandemic. But they have to be given the opportunity. So, we urge you to identify those companies who share your purpose and approach them with an inspiring opportunity to partner in the pandemic. Give them the opportunity they are looking for.
Employee engagement is vital
Employee engagement isn’t just a priority for business. It is THE priority. If your people are motivated and inspired they will be more productive, they will stay with you longer and they will promote your organisation as a great place to work. In fact, MIT research shows that companies with a highly rated employee experience achieve twice the innovation, double the customer satisfaction, and 25 percent higher profits than companies with a low rated employee experience.
Keeping employees engaged can be a challenge at the best of times, but now so many people are working from home it is even more difficult. A partnership with a charity can be a really creative solution to motivating employees. Raising money or volunteering to help good causes can have a transformational effect on an individual and teams. And if this is instigated by the employer then it will remind employees why they feel proud to work for that company.
Businesses are actively looking for new opportunities
Especially as we enter a new year, business leaders are looking for ways to stand out from the competition. The question on every leader’s mind right now is “how do I ensure that 2021 is a positive year?”
Your partnership could be the answer they need. By helping them realise that it’s time for purpose, by solving their problems, by engaging their employees and shaping their response to the pandemic – there has never been a better moment. Businesses need charities right now as much as charities need businesses. So we recommend you act now to seize the enormous partnerships opportunity in the pandemic.
If this blog has inspired you and you want more knowledge, tools and ideas to seize the pandemic partnership opportunity, we recommend you attend Corporate Partnerships Everywhere on the 25th February 2021.