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The secrets to long-term corporate relationships

10 top ways charities and companies can succeed at fundraising together

Lady shaking hands with someone unseen

Long-term corporate relationships can be extremely lucrative for charities, not least saving on the time and effort required to select and pitch to new corporates. We talked to a variety of charities to get the inside scoop on turning existing corporate fundraising partnerships into something sustainable, for the long term.

Here are our top ten secrets on how to be successful at nurturing your corporate partnerships.

1. Build a wider network

As well as working with Corporate Social Responsibility managers, think about widening your network with the businesses you work with. Are there other people in other key functions, such as HR, events and social media, who could spread your message and get people involved in your cause? The more people you know, the more opportunities you can create.

2. Keep in regular contact

Making communication a top priority with your corporate contacts is really important – providing updates on planned activities along with concise regular communications helps to keep you and your charity front-of-mind.

3. Suggest new ideas

Keep a high level of engagement with your corporate partnerships by suggesting new ways they can get involved in your charity. You could create volunteering opportunities, ask for a senior figure to present an award at a gala dinner or even host a meet-and-greet event with your trustees – all of these things can help to strengthen your relationship with your fundraising partners.

4. Go to the top

If you want to make sure your updates, news or successes are making it all the way to the top, why not produce a report, write a thank-you note or make a phone call? A good old-fashioned personal touch can still go a long way in getting your message heard by the right people.

5. Keep one eye on the future

Sharing a long-term vision can be powerful. Even if you can’t continue as a corporate’s Charity of the Year, suggesting ways in which they can continue to support you after the initial period often helps to extend the relationship and drive further value for your charity.

6. Knowledge is power

Getting under the skin of an organisation will not only help you to develop ideas that may be of use, but it also helps you to sound knowledgeable and engaged when you talk with them. So think about the objectives and opportunities of your corporate partners – how do they align to your charity and what plans can you put in place to deliver on them?

7. If you say you’re going to do something, do it

With any relationship, proving you’re a reliable partner is crucial. So be sure to be clear and honest at all times, and do what you say you will do. That way, you’ll stand out as a strong and trustworthy charity – ready and able to make a difference.

8. Provide meaningful updates

Don’t bombard your corporate partner with meaningless updates. Instead, choose to provide useful updates on key milestones achieved (such as funds raised to date) and progress against plans. Corporate partners love to hear info such as this as it really helps to spread the feel-good factor.

9. Make it as hard as possible to break up!

To quote Confucius, ‘Tell me something and I’ll forget it, show me something and maybe I’ll remember it, involve me and I will remember it’. If people feel part of something, it makes it harder to let it go. So remember to take your corporate partners on the journey with you, celebrating your successes along the way.

10. Learn from feedback

Always encourage feedback on your partnership – what’s worked well, what could be improved upon and what successes have you achieved together? Being open and honest goes a long way in ensuring your corporate relationships are strong and fruitful.

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