5 business connection tips for charity
Your charity is never too small, new, remote [add any other reason you like here] to connect with business. Yes, you have to look at investing some time, resources and feasibility, but the returns can be significant. Whether your strategy is to diversify your fundraising, drive PR and awareness or introduce more volunteers, there's never been a better time to reach out to the business community for mutual benefit - especially on a local level. Scroll for 5 tips on connecting your charity with business.
5. Some wheels just aren't worth reinventing
It's an old cliché, but when you're looking to work with a company to raise funds, increase your profile, or seek gifts in kind, it's worth considering who you know that could open both tangible and metaphorical doors for you. Some wheels just aren't worth reinventing. Your connections and acquaintances also have their own connections, and before you know it, there is a whole network of people out there who can help you to open many more doors. If you can, asking a company insider is often the best way of finding out what you need to know in advance about approaching a company for support and tailoring your ask appropriately where values, outcomes and successes can be matched.
4. What do you have in common?
Fundraising with businesses is a two-way relationship. Due diligence and ruling out any conflict of interest is good preparation before you get started. Researching businesses, gaining awareness of their vision and mission and getting to grips with what motivates them is critical. Some understanding of their future plans for growth, recruitment intentions and previous charitable work is essential. Any research you do, that gives you a little insight will help you align your needs, brand and add gravitas to your case for support. Knowing what you both have in common will help you and them determine what you want to achieve from working together.
3. What are you offering?
As a charity or community group, your purpose or charitable activities should already be crystal clear, with defined outcomes for beneficiaries and the service you provide. So should your outcomes be, when connecting with businesses. The first question to ask yourself is 'what's in it for them'? Any strategy for an approach to corporate fundraising must identify how your own organisation and the company you are approaching are aligned. What is it that you have to offer that might not be found elsewhere? How could you ensure the business you want to work with is getting value, feels rewarded by supporting you and genuinely feel like they're making a difference to your charity or community group?
2. Keeping it real
One of the biggest challenges for charities working with businesses big and small, is feeling like they must deliver something beyond their capability, or going so far off message that their cause has been diluted, the goal posts are quickly moved and the impact gets blurred, or worse, lost all together. Having some clear outcomes and objectives set in writing from the beginning are a must when working with any business. Both parties should be clear about what is required of them and the outcomes, but really importantly, what is NOT going to happen. Managing realistic expectations and 'keeping it real', is critical to maintaining a good relationship, maximising opportunities and developing successful partnerships for the future.
1. The 'S' word
Stewardship is something we all do in our personal lives, naturally, and so can easily translate in to the charity and not-for-profit world. Stewardship when connecting with businesses is about keeping in touch with timely communication, tailoring or segmenting your messages and clearly demonstrating impact. Style and frequency of your stewardship method depends on the relationship and the gift - whether that's cash, volunteering, or otherwise. Regardless, having a plan of what happens next, how you keep in touch and potential opportunities to diversify and strengthen your relationship, should be tucked neatly up your sleeve and ready to go.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org about making the right corporate connections to grow your income and raise your profile.
For best practice, regulation guidance and reference on corporate fundraising: https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/code/corporate-partnerships