This #GivingTuesday, Think New Corporate Partnerships
Today is #GivingTuesday and a perfect chance to consider new fundraising opportunities. How about one to bring on board new corporate partners?
In order to do this it’s crucial to make a good first impression, so here is a seven step guide to making a first approach.
Before doing anything below, do you know:
- What are you looking for from a corporate partner?
- What are the benefits you can offer them to work with you? – remember this will be a business relationship and should have benefits for them too.
Once you have answered these, put together a list of organisations with synergies to your cause, brand or location who you’d like to work with before working on the seven steps below.
- Pinpoint the right person
Who is the best person to speak to? Who are you going to be helping in that company? If you are offering a volunteering opportunity, try HR. If it involves publicity, try PR or marketing. If it is sponsorship that might lead to greater sales for them, try sales. Remember to always aim for the head of the department.
- Research and rehearse
Do your research. Can you find information about their past partnerships or areas that are important to them? Check through their website and see if they have produced any reports on their charity work – they will probably have publicised this in the past.
- Pick up the phone!
Now pick up the phone and start calling! We all get a huge number of emails which are all too easy to overlook or ignore. Done right, a phone call is the quickest, surest and most personal way to start a good relationship.
This might not be your favourite task of the week, so block out time in your diary each week to ensure you dedicate enough time to it. Think about when you call – avoid the beginning or end of the day and lunch times.
- Open with a qualifying statement
Always qualify your call by asking if they have a couple of minutes to chat. If they don’t have time to speak arrange a time you can call back. Start the call by briefly introducing yourself and explaining the purpose of your call – be upfront and honest.
In making that crucial good first impression, it is important to sound positive. Although they won’t be able to see it, if you smile while you’re talking it will have the effect of lifting the whole tone of your voice.
- Listen, and use open questions
Once on the phone, try to find out about what they are looking to achieve using open questions. Listen to what they have to say, rather than simply telling them lots of facts about your organisation.
Using the information they give you, you can then show them the benefits of working with you. If you are speaking to HR, then this could be around employee motivation or skills development, if you are speaking to marketing it can be about the audience they will be exposed to.
- Secure the next call/meeting
Most importantly, secure your next call or a meeting with them. Remember this can be a long process so don’t get disheartened if you don’t hear from them immediately.
- Be clear on next steps
Once you have secured a meeting, make sure you are fully prepared for it and try to match with them as much as possible – consider the language you use and even what you wear to the meeting, this should fit with their organisation as they will be buying into you as a fundraiser as well as the organisation.
Discuss their objectives and any problems they may have during you meeting. You can use this information to work up an attractive business proposition for them. This should evidence the benefits to them as an organisation.
By following these steps, you will give yourself the best chance of securing a mutually beneficial relationship in a competitive area of fundraising.
Alex Hayes, Business Development Manager at the FSI
Need more help with fundraising? The FSI delivers face to face training all across the UK, as well as a suite of online learning resources. Find out more on our services page.