A corporate partner can bring much-needed technology, marketing, communication, and financial resources to your cause. How do you find the right one?
Companies and their employees and customers want to engage in social issues. In fact, 86% of consumers expect companies to act on social and environmental injustices. Corporate partners can help your nonprofit amplify its impact. The right corporate partner can bring much-needed technology, marketing, communication, and financial resources to your cause. But how do you find the right corporate partner for your nonprofit?
Here are six tips that will help you score a mutually beneficial corporate partnership:
1. Demonstrate your trustworthiness.
Before reaching out to companies, make sure your organization has an online presence that demonstrates its legitimacy. [Get more tips about how to build your online presence in our guidebook.] Companies are looking for safe and reputable partners. If your organization has undergone GlobalGiving’s rigorous vetting and due diligence process, that demonstrates credibility and adds a layer of safety for risk-averse companies. Display trust indicators from GlobalGiving and other organizations, such as Charity Navigator or GuideStar, on your website.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: Hundreds of companies partner with GlobalGiving every year to achieve their corporate social responsibility goals. To help your organization stand out to our busy corporate partners, start by writing clear, short, and descriptive project titles. Learn more about how to write a great project title.
2. Show your social impact.
How have individual lives, and your community, changed as a result of your nonprofit’s work? This is your social impact, and companies care about it. To show your social impact, document the outcomes—not just the outputs—of your work. An output for a maternal health clinic, for example, may be number of patients served. An outcome, for example, may be greater maternal engagement in the workforce. [Get more social impact tips from GlobalGiving’s co-founder Mari Kuraishi.] Your nonprofit’s impact can also be demonstrated qualitatively through great photographs, testimonials, and stories.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: Remember, company leaders often form an impression of your nonprofit within seconds. Make sure your project summary illustrates your impact and your project page features an engaging, high quality photo. Learn more about how to write a great project summary.
3. Conduct pointed research.
Your organization’s ability to find a corporate sponsor starts with you—your research and your networks. When searching for companies, begin with those whose mission and customers’ interests align with your organization. Consider companies that work in similar spaces and are of a similar size to your organization. For example, if you represent a small, agriculture nonprofit based in the United States but operating in Uganda, start locally—find a Ugandan food processing company, a seed distributor, or a restaurant to support your work. Then, build your network from there.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: Ask to be connected to one of our peer mentors. They’d love to share their expertise with you.
4. Map your network.
Mapping your networks in the corporate world is great next step. Asking your friends, peers, and family to connect you to someone from their company’s CSR team is free! Encourage your staff, board, volunteers, and even constituents to do the same with their networks. Look at the “partners” page or annual report of nonprofits similar to yours for ideas of types of companies that could align well with your organization. LinkedIn is also a great tool to find indirect relationships and get a close contact to introduce you to someone at a company of interest. When composing an email or making a call to a company you’re unfamiliar with, always do some research to find out the name and background of the person in charge of CSR at the company. Download our network mapping worksheet.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: You have access to our Peer Networking Calls! Check your dashboard for the latest learning opportunities.
5. Set concrete outreach goals.
The more outreach you do, the more partnerships you’ll create. Have a concrete goal, such as reaching out to 30 contacts per week. Measure your outreach using a database such as Salesforce or a simple Excel sheet. Use a layered, integrated approach of personalized calls, in-person visits, mail, and email. If you initially reached out via email, the next contact could be a tweet or LinkedIn message. Be persistent and thoughtful, but not overbearing.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: Don’t miss the corporate partnerships section of your Nonprofit Partner Handbook. Did you know our team is more likely to recommend your nonprofit to a corporate partner if you’ve achieved Superstar Status through GGRewards?
6. Center your conversations on mutual benefits.
What should you talk about with a corporate prospect? Think about what your organization can do for the company. This can come in the form of media attention, employee engagement, volunteering, or cause marketing (e.g. a yogurt company sells yogurt with pink lids to raise funds for breast cancer research). Cultivating volunteer opportunities, whether in-person or virtual, is a great way to expand your network, and your potential corporate connections. You can pitch the company a wide variety of options, such as matching gifts or giving through sales, to keep them engaged. Once you establish a corporate partnership, make sure to nurture the relationship for years to come. Read more corporate partnership tips from GlobalGiving’s Ingrid Embree.
Tips for GlobalGiving Partners: Join GlobalGivingTIME! You can post volunteer opportunities, including short mini-tasks, to be completed virtually by our corporate partners.