Making Corporate Fundraising Work as a Small Charity
The corporate sector is full of opportunities for small charities to take advantage of with many companies looking to increase their support for the sector through gifts in kind, expertise and volunteers, and even funds. However, competition is high amongst charities of all sizes for this support.
It is important to remember with this form of fundraising that you will be developing a business relationship with them and will have to highlight the benefits to the company of working with you. Will you help them reach new markets? Will you help them engage with their staff and customers? Will you offer them the chance for positive PR? Any relationship you develop with a company should be a win: win situation, i.e. good for you and for them.
Here are some top tips to help your small charity engage with corporates and develop long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
Pre-Preparation is Key
- Decide why you want a company to be involved and how they can help. It may sound obvious but it is important to have a clear idea of what the relationship will look like. Are you looking for sponsorship, a Cause Related Marketing product or Charity of the Year partnership? What expertise would you like within the organisation?
- Identify your unique selling point. What makes you stand out as an organisation? What are you good at? Knowing this will help engage a company.
- Develop packages which can be taken to different companies. Describe the features of the relationship but importantly highlight the benefits to them. Ensure you understand the impact your charity has and therefore what impact any support you receive will have.
- It is vital that you approach the right organisations with your ideas. Try to look for synergy with your brand. Which areas do you work in and which companies are likely to be interested in what you are offering? Remember to start by approaching those you have warm relationships with such as your suppliers or organisations who know you first.
- Ensure you give yourself an achievable number to approach. If your list is too long you will always find an excuse to do something else! Think of between 10 and 20 companies to approach and work through this list. Make sure one or two of these companies is your ‘wish list’ – aim high and see what you can achieve.
- Pick up the phone and start calling those companies on the list! We all get too many e-mails and letters these days and they are very easy to ignore. Cold-calling may not be your favourite thing to do but will help you develop relationships. Book out some time in your diary every week to be on the phone and stick to it. Practice and prepare some questions to ask them so you can be direct and don’t appear to be nervous – you might even find you start to enjoy it. Use these calls to try and get a meeting with them to cement the relationship.
- Try to find the right person to talk to. Whose problem within the company are you going to solve? Are you offering new markets? Then call sales. Will your partnership help them engage and retain their staff? Then call HR. Are you offering promotion and PR? Then call marketing.
It is important to leave yourself enough time and resource to undertake this. Corporate support can make a huge difference to your organisation but relationships will take months to develop and can be resource intensive depending on the type of support you receive.
Once you have got a company on board, ensure you make the most of the relationship. Can you engage with all of their staff and customers? Can you offer a payroll giving scheme? Regular, personalised engagement and ensuring they understand the impact they are having will help to ensure the relationship develops and continues.
Interested in finding out more? Come along to one of our heavily subsidised Developing Corporate Relationship course in Leeds or Cardiff. If that doesn’t work for you, check out the full details of all of our upcoming face-to-face training http://www.thefsi.org/services/training/
Amber Shotton is the Head of Membership and Learning at the FSI.