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4 Ways Charities Can Build Better Corporate Partnerships

24 April, 2019

Corporates and charities are a winning combination. The right corporate giving partner can help your charity increase revenue through effective and far-reaching fundraising campaigns. A corporate partnership can also help you reach a broad range of supporters and raise the overall visibility of your charity. But before you pick up the phone and start reaching out to potential companies, you’ll want to think about who you reach out to, why and how you do it. In this post, we share four tips to help your charity build the best possible corporate partnership this year.

Choose your Partner Wisely

As with our social and personal lives, when it comes to corporate giving opportunities, it’s important to find a compatible partner. Your partnership should be aligned around shared values and goals.

Take the charity Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) as an example. LGFB focuses on boosting the physical and emotional wellbeing of women undergoing cancer treatment. The charity aims to increase women’s confidence and self-esteem during a very difficult time in their lives. It found the perfect corporate giving partner in Debenhams, a popular retailer that sells women’s clothing, beauty products and more.

It’s also a unique partnership that extends beyond just financial support. Debenhams trains its beauty hall makeup experts so that they can offer dedicated advice to customers undergoing cancer treatments. Since the training partnership began, more than 400 beauty hall colleagues have participated!

Source: LGFB

Tip: If your partnership involves on-the-ground support from your corporate giving partner, think about how you might be able to recognize these individuals through customised merchandise like clothing or badges. LGFB, for example, provides trained makeup experts with a special pin so they can be easily recognised by women.

Clarify the Why (And the How)

Any savvy corporate will ask you why they should partner with your charity. What’s in it for them? Be sure that you know the answer to this question in advance and have a clear pitch prepared. Often this pitch will be about garnering positive media coverage and public relations or reaching new customers. Start with a compelling value proposition and have a few examples ready to go.

Also plan to offer the corporate different ways to partner with you to best suit their business. This could be an in-kind donation of a product or service, a donation of time or space for an event, financial contributions, advertising or creating and selling a special product with proceeds going to your charity. It’s also okay to start small with a single partnership activity and grow the relationship from there.

Tip: You really just have to remember one key thing here: The best partnerships are mutually beneficial!

Think Beyond the Collection Box

Our third tip is to get creative with your fundraising efforts. Today, corporate giving schemes extend beyond basic donation collection. As we mentioned above, your corporate partnership can take all sorts of shapes, from in-kind support to partnering on creative merchandise and products.

One great example is Breast Cancer Now, the largest breast cancer charity in the UK. The charity partners with multiple retailers to design and sell special pink merchandise during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. This includes Asda, M&S, Debenhams, Time to Live Rose, Town & Country, FanU, Damart,, SensatioNail, Tikiboo and Pentel.

In this way, not only does the charity have an extensive reach, but it also offers something for everyone, from beauty to flowers to fashion to home goods. Its partnership with multiple corporates makes it easy for more people to participate in the campaign. The result? More money for Breast Cancer Now to dedicate to critical cancer research. Breast Cancer Now’s campaign with M&S alone has raised £29 million to date!

Tap into the Power of Awareness Days

Our last tip to take your fundraising potential to a new level this year is to tap into global awareness months and campaigns. If you can time your campaign to coincide with these special days or months, your charity may be more likely to attract attention and donations as the cause is top of mind among supporters. Other charities and corporates may plan their own campaigns for these awareness days, which collectively may help raise the visibility of the campaigns for everyone involved with the cause.

One great example is CLIC Sargent’s successful Band Against Cancer campaign. The charity, which supports children and young people with cancer, partnered with the supermarket Morrisons last year to release three special and collectable Band Against Cancer wristbands. These were made available for purchase in stores around World Cancer Day on 4 February. The result? In 2018, bracelet sales helped raise more than £320,000 for CLIC Sargent, the largest ever fundraising event total from Morrisons. The partnership continued again this year on 4 February 2019 with new wristbands and other ways to donate.

As a next step, think about what corporates you could partner with. Animal charity? Consider large farms, research institutions or veterinarian associations. Youth charity? Perhaps reach out to schools and universities or corporates that make or sell school supplies.

The possibilities for partnership really are endless! Just think about some of the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to building the best possible corporate partnership.

We’d love to hear more about your mission – we may even be able to help you identify a few corporates to reach out to. Please get in touch with us today!

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