How to become a Company’s Charity of the Year: 7 Steps for Success

Although it’s 10 years old, much of the following article published about how to become a company’s Charity of the Year is still relevant.

The article, which appeared in The Guardian newspaper in 2013, points out that success of an application is about more than winning over hearts and minds. Companies look for charities that meet a number of criteria including strategic fit, organisational capability, employee engagement, and impact. Making sure all these are covered in an application can take some careful thought.

However, Charity of the Year partnerships are not one-sided affairs and charities should always make sure it’s the right fit for them too. For instance, a charity may also decide that it simply doesn’t have the capacity to cope with the scale of what’s involved, particularly if the partnership is with a large national company. Tesco, for example, has 300,000 staff and more than 3,000 stores, an infrastructure which required Cancer Research UK to allocate seven fundraising account managers and considerable PR and regional resource to the campaign.

The Guardian article lists the following 7 Steps for Success:

1. Meet the brief

A regular complaint from corporates is that too many charities don’t read the brief. Applications should answer all the questions and meet the desired criteria.

2. Avoid jargons

Only use words that are simple for people to understand and that clearly explain what would be achieved. Language should be inspiring as well as honest.

3. Be strategic

Charities that show how they will help the company achieve its strategic priorities stand a better chance than those that don’t. Equally, the partnership should contribute to the charity’s own strategy.

4. Highlight experience

It is vital applications demonstrate how risks would be minimised and that the organisation has both the aptitude and the attitude needed to deliver.

5. Demonstrate impact

It’s important for people to see how their money is saving lives. Use stories, quotes, photos and videos of service users and projects in action to bring a charity’s work to life.

6. Use your imagination

Fundraising-fatigue can kill a campaign. Charities should demonstrate they can think outside the box when it comes to income generation ideas.

7. Be passionate

Too many pitches are lost because fundraisers don’t show their passion for a cause. If they don’t believe in their work, how can they expect others to? Taking a beneficiary or programme manager along can help bring the project directly to the corporate.