Lucy Sharma, corporate partnerships manager at The Outward Bound Trust – a charity which teaches youngsters leadership skills by getting them into outdoor activities. She gave us the following five step guide for creating a corporate friendship.
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 – using different methods and different criteria – to 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.
Ask for a short, 30 minute meeting with the company you’d like to partner with and use that time to ask the right questions. What projects have they got coming up that a charity partnership could potentially help with? Have they supported charities before – was it successful partnership? Why did it work or fail? These answers will help to construct a proposal which genuinely resonates with the company.
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.
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: a powerful 5-day residential course with young people in the wilderness. This experience gives them a first-hand understanding of where their cash goes, whilst 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, posting engaging content on their fundraising efforts.
GET ADOPTED AS A PET 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. We talked 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.