It can be confusing and daunting when thinking about corporate fundraising. You may often find yourself asking questions like: How do I successfully bring a partner on board? What are the expectations of the company? How should I treat our relationship?
These are all valid questions and ones that need to be addressed, but with good planning and clear understanding of your goals, a successful relationship with a corporate entity can be built!
So, without further ado, Here are our top tips for engaging with corporates.
Start by thinking of any companies you may have existing contact with. Use your extended network (contacts of contacts) and ask for introductions – ‘LinkedIn’ can be useful in identifying indirect relationships you never knew you had.
Identify the right person
Make sure you approach the right person – the store/company Manager or person responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is most usual. Do some research, find out their name and approach them personally and directly – in smaller businesses, where there is no formal CSR policy, donations are often made at the discretion of the Manager.
Think about what you can offer
Where appropriate, think about what you are prepared to offer in return, such as a public acknowledgement or publicity opportunities. Most companies give out of self-interest rather than pure altruism, and it is important to remember this when approaching them. If you are asking for sponsorship, think about why a company would want to be associated with you – this could include positive publicity so bring along any press cuttings or correspondence indicating media interest. Many smaller local businesses may be unaware of the tax advantages available in connection with charitable gifts, so make sure you are prepared to tell them!
Prepare an ‘Ask’
A letter outlining what you are doing, what it is you are asking for, and why a company should think about supporting you is often a good starting point.
Follow-up with a telephone call a week or two later, allowing time for the recipient to familiarise themselves with your ‘ask’. If you are looking for something substantial, this may be a good opportunity to suggest a meeting to discuss how any partnership might work.
Say Thank You!
Remember to say ‘thank you’ and report back on how a company’s support has made a difference. This not only prepares the ground for any future donations but also helps ensure the reputation of the charity and fundraising in general.