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How charities can create a thriving corporate partnership

5 steps to building new supporters and fundraisers

Group of happy people with hands together

A corporate partnership can be a fantastic source of new supporters and fundraisers, making it the most sought-after of charity relationships, but many charities find the idea of trying to get involved with a corporate daunting.

To identify easy steps to start and develop a partnership, we talked to The Outward Bound Trust – a charity which teaches youngsters leadership skills by getting them into outdoor activities – about how they began their successful partnership with Go Ape.

1. Spread your net wide

By and large, we target those whose work or values are a natural fit with us – working in the outdoors with young people – and those whose size and turnover indicates they are likely to have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget. This is how we became partnered with Go Ape. We research and produce lists of companies to approach, and we then tailor our ‘asks’ accordingly. Communicating with people to whom your organisation provides support can be a great way of connecting with an organisation too.

2. Make contact

We have found that the best way to start is by asking for a short, 30 minute meeting with the company you’d like to partner with and use that time to ask the right questions. We asked questions like:

These answers help to construct a proposal which genuinely resonates with the company.

3. Create an event

We also ran a ‘new business’ event – asking companies to a special lunch to demonstrate what we do. We asked someone our charity had helped to describe the impact of our work, as well as a few existing corporate supporters to talk about our partnerships. This gave the audience real examples on ways to support us.

4. Give them something back

The adventure group Go Ape are able to reward their top fundraisers by sending them to accompany an Outward Bound course with us: a powerful five-day residential course with young people in the wilderness. This experience gives them a first-hand understanding of where their cash goes, while offering employees the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally – benefits they can take back to their business. We have supported Go Ape through our various social media channels too, helping to increase their audience, by posting engaging content on their fundraising efforts.

5. Get adopted as a favourite charity

A huge number of corporations are on the lookout for a ‘Charity of the Year’. Why not apply? Focus on what your organisation can offer a company in terms of staff engagement, or helping employees feel connected to their community and proud of who they work for. When we apply, we talk about the significant, long-lasting impact of our work – explaining how we are not only supporting today’s society but working to improve the lives of the next generation. We focus on the results of our work and communicate our case of support with real conviction.


Give your fundraisers the best shot

Your fundraisers get the special treatment from Virgin Money Giving – from rewards and Virgin perks, to regular emails to celebrate their milestones. Be sure to keep them motivated by ensuring they know their efforts have made a real difference.

Find out more

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