4 tips for a successful charity corporate partnership

 
 
Image courtesy of  Clark Tibbs

Image courtesy of Clark Tibbs

 
 
 

The “growing up” of corporate philanthropy represents a big opportunity for both sides of the equation. Charities get an enormous marketing boost, presence in untapped sectors, access to large workforces and, of course, money in the bank. 

For businesses, working with a charity delivers instant goodwill, marketing collateral, a recruitment incentive and a nice morale booster for employees who want to make a difference. From 15+ years working with the third sector, we’ve compiled a list of 4 essential components to a successful partnership.

  1. Find your tone of voice

Some in the public can be a little skeptical of corporate partnerships. It’s important to start by understanding the portrayal of a partnership to your audiences. The general public at times do not believe what businesses say about philanthropic activity and they also do not fully understand how the money is raised, or the reason why a partnership is needed. 

You need to find the right tone of voice and way to clearly communicate how they are not only raising money but making a difference to people’s lives, that hugely benefits the partnering charity.

2. Align with their services

More and more corporates are partnering with charities that align with their products or values, with the aim of making a more tangible difference to the underlying cause. For example the outdoor apparel company Helly Hansen partnered with the RNLI to provide product innovation and lifesaving kit.

This is on top of their donation, fundraising efforts and lifesaving campaigns. Consider how your charity can align with a corporate partner’s products or services.

Helly Hansen’s brand was a natural fit for the RNLI.

Helly Hansen’s brand was a natural fit for the RNLI.

 

3. Grow their brand

How do you make a partnership and cause seem appealing? Firstly, it means you need to create a proposal that really matches both parties mission, vision and values. Secondly, you need to emphasise the big difference to the underlying cause. Finally, you need to make their brand profile stronger and more engaging by partnering with you. 

Essentially this means charities must ask not what corporates can do for them, but what they can do for corporates. You have to understand what ‘value’ you offer businesses and come up with a proposal that goes a lot further than just a corporate donation.

4. Evidence the impact

Corporates want to make a big difference to partner charities and see real changes that can be attributed to their donation. Tangible results are the easiest to communicate and the most effective way to resonate with their audiences. So how can you show substantial impact? 

Focus on the big numbers as well as documenting the stories of real people’s lives being impacted. That way you can be far more persuasive. This might mean creating videos or other media to capture these, but it will make for a far engaging conversation; hopefully leading to more investment.

 
Image courtesy of IRC.

Image courtesy of IRC.

 

As strategists and designers, we work with charities to produce a clear vision of their corporate partnerships. 


Where we can help

  • Clearly defining the value you offer to partners

  • Helping produce a corporate partnership strategy

  • Establishing a mission to make significant impact using corporate partners

  • Providing partnership activation and creative fundraising ideas

  • Ensuring internal teams and external partners are aligned and excited for the future

Examples

Breast Cancer Now / Asda

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Corporate changes potentially put a 23-year partnership with Asda at risk. After merging the UK’s two biggest breast cancer charities into one, Breast Cancer Now needed to convey the benefit of the change to Asda. Together we created a corporate partnership vision that secured £13.5 million.

View full case study

 

International Rescue Committee / Financial Times

When seeking a new Seasonal Charity of the Year the FT challenged charities to take over their offices. Our big idea centred around asking FT staff what if war had come to their city? The idea was successful and went on to increase awareness of humanitarian crises. Importantly it also raised £2.2M.

 

Fashion Targets Breast Cancer / Topshop

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Topshop wanted to maximise its contribution to this great cause, and asked us to help their collection stand out in one of the UK's busiest shopping ares; Oxford Street.

View full case study

Find out more

If you’d like to chat about corporate partnerships, please contact rob@bondandcoyne.co.uk

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