Six steps to kickstart corporate partnerships

Corporate partnerships are a major opportunity for charities because they can help you deliver your mission. They do this by delivering several benefits including raising money, increasing profile, providing volunteers and sharing skills. The problem is that many charities don’t know where to start. So here are the six steps that we recommend you take to kickstart your corporate partnerships.

1. Get colleagues on board

Probably the greatest factor that will affect your corporate partnerships success is getting your colleagues on board. This is because they can help you throughout the whole process, including sharing contacts, brainstorming partnership opportunities and attending prospect meetings. When I worked at Alzheimer’s Society we dramatically increased our corporate partnerships success when we started involving our colleagues more. Involving colleagues can make things a bit more complicated, but as the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

2. Build your proposition

The next step is to build your corporate partnership proposition. This is how you package up your charity to make you more attractive to senior business decision makers. In our experience companies choose charities for emotional reasons, then they justify their decision with commercial benefits afterwards. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So your proposition should communicate your big emotional why. The way to do that is share a story and tell them the big problem you are trying to solve. If you get this right companies will be climbing over the table to partner with you.

3. Identify five-star prospects

Once you have your partnership offer, then the next step is find your target prospects. We recommend you identify your five-star prospects, who tick the following boxes:

  • You have a shared purpose
  • You have a warm contact at the company
  • They have a problem you can help solve
  • They have resources to help solve your problems
  • You have a realistic chance of success

We helped Learning with Parents identify their target prospects which included IG Group. Within two years they secured a three-year partnership worth £750k. Read the full story of how we helped Learning with Parents.

4. Create tailored partnership opportunities

Many charities think that the best way to engage companies is to ask them for money. But as one company told me, “This makes me want to run for the hills.” This is because it makes them feel like you only want their money, which isn’t a partnership at all. So rather than asking companies for money we recommend you approach them with a tailored partnership opportunity. This approach is much more likely to succeed because you can clearly show the company what is in if for them. So we recommend you create a unique partnership opportunity for each of your target colleagues by organising a brainstorm involving key colleagues. If you would like to book a free partnership opportunity brainstorm with a member of our team then please email

5.  Secure meetings

If you want to build corporate partnerships then it is essential that you meet with your prospects face-to-face or online. This means that securing meetings is one of the most important steps. According to Rain Group it takes an average of eight approaches to secure a meeting with a prospect. The problem is that most people give up after two! So we recommend you don’t give up. Due to the increase in hybrid working, we find that email is a very effective way of securing meetings right now. If you do use email, we recommend you keep it short and say that you have a partnership opportunity which you believe is perfect for the company.

6.  Deliver brilliant meetings

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so when you meet with your target prospect you want to give them the best meeting they have ever had. We recommend you start the meeting by listening to the company so you really understand their objectives and challenges. Then you pitch your partnership opportunity, showing them how you can help them deliver some of those objectives. Then you should have a discussion about the possibility of working together. The last step is to agree a date for your next meeting. It’s really important to understand you don’t want to secure the partnership in your first meeting. The purpose of your first meeting is to secure a second meeting.

We hope this blog is useful guide to help you get started with corporate partnerships. If you would like to book a 30-minute discovery call to find out how we can help your charity kickstart your corporate partnerships, then please use this link to book a session:

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