Ideas for how small charities can find a corporate partner

UK Fundraising, a fantastic resource for not-for-profits (you can sign up for daily email alerts HERE – scroll down to the foot of the page) has just published an excellent article on how small charities can find a corporate partner, which we’ve reproduced in part below. The full article can be found on the UK Fundraising website.

“Finding a corporate partner as a small charity without the name and resources of the big nationals may seem a little daunting, but there’s much that can be done for just the investment of a bit of time. Here are some tips.

Think about how you can build relationships to build awareness of your organisation

Reaching out to local businesses can be a successful route for smaller charities. The Hymans Robertson Foundation supports a number of small charities, and is marking its fifth birthday this year by offering additional grants of £5,000 each to its smaller partners FARE Scotland, SportInspired, TLG – Transforming lives for good, Works + and MyBnk. Marcella Boyle, its CEO says:

Are you thinking local or national?  Corporates are people too, who often want to make a difference in their local area: think “neighbourhood” and how you can approach offices to build up your own local networks. These relationships can develop into future corporate partnerships.”

1. Seek potential partners with a good fit for your charity
Look for businesses where their values seem to align with yours. City Hospice recently appointed a number of ambassadors from the South Wales business community who will champion the charity’s work within their communities, as well as supporting events and fundraising campaigns.

2. Find a relevant topic to engage with
When identifying possible targets, find out as much as you can about them as this will help you find the right way to approach them.

3. Tell a good story
All non-profits have great stories to tell, and just as sharing these helps to engage individual donors, so it helps to engage businesses.

4. Who do you know who might open doors?
Consider your contacts  – there might be people you already know who work at businesses that are a good fit for you and who might be able to provide a way in.

5. Take advantage of social media for research & engagement opportunities
Social media can be a useful and cheap way of finding potential ‘targets’, and discovering more about them. It also provides a way to engage with them to help kickstart communications and raise awareness of your organisation.

6. Look for other ways in
As well as building up relationships through supporting local businesses financially, look at how else you can get to know them. Offering volunteering opportunities is one way that will get your name in front of them and help you build a relationship that might later lead elsewhere.

7. Checklist
Finally, a quick checklist for getting started, from Lisa Long, Farms for City Children’s Regional Corporate Fundraising Manager:

o Who do we already know? Who are our lapsed corporate donors? And who do our staff, trustees and volunteers know?
o Who fits well with what we do? Who do our staff think fit well with what we do? And have any of these companies been in the news recently…. bad press, anniversary or a new store opening etc.
o First approach through introductions if possible, and face to face. If it’s a lapsed donor, focus on their previous support and the achievements made since then.
o If there’s no shared contact and a cold approach, call and invite for coffee to chat about what you do/see the service/meet beneficiaries. Be armed with ideas that benefit both sides and that demonstrate the impact the company can make. Be confident.
o Focus on how you can support the partner – press coverage, social media posts, always on the phone, photos and quotes, regular reports, invites to events.