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You’ve probably seen Apple's RED product range or Age UK’s little woolly hats on Innocent smoothie bottles and wondered how it came about. These are just two examples of very successful and long-standing corporate partnerships between charities and companies.

Building corporate partnerships for your charity isn't simply about generating more funds. A good corporate charity partnership should consist of a long-term shared vision that could bring about real change and impact. And most importantly, these relationships should be mutually beneficial.

But how do you attract corporate partners to support your charity?


Make sure your values are aligned

One of the underlying characteristics of a successful charity corporate partnerships is shared values. It’s important to choose business partners who are the right fit for your organisation (check out how we did this for Network Rail’s ‘Routes out of Homelessness’ partnership here). Corporates look to fulfil their strategic goals with their choice of charity partner, so consider which brands might be interested in the audiences you serve, or could use your mission to strengthen their reputation and engage with their workforce.

Before you begin your outreach, you should define your ideal criteria in a business partner and compile a wish list of corporate partnerships to give you a good idea of where you should be focusing your attention. This will ensure that you can create an alliance that's true to your cause and will stand the test of time.


Establish an equal relationship

Establishing an equal relationship on both sides is crucial when forming charity corporate partnerships. There is often a risk of imbalance as the charity may feel like the company has the upper hand as the ones donating the funding.

Successful partnerships will recognise the different strengths that each party can bring to the table and how you can best complement each other. By identifying how you will build a meaningful relationship from the outset, you'll avoid any tension further down the line and both sides will reap the benefits.


Be open and honest with each other

Like with all relationships, honesty and up-frontness are key components to success. And being open and honest with each other about what you can commit to from the start will help reduce the chances of an awkward conversation and any strain on your charity’s resources. Regular communication facilitates this kind of openness, so make sure you set up regular meetings to reinforce your alliance.

It’s also vital to make it as easy as possible for them to work with you. This involves reaching out to them with a project in mind to start with and being really clear about what they’re going to get out of it – whether it’s brand awareness, goodwill or staff satisfaction. You can also give them ideas of how to raise money for you and supply them with helpful resources to promote what activity they’re doing in partnership with you.

Corporate partnerships are a great way of securing regular giving but take care to provide regular updates of how the partnership is impacting your beneficiaries and helping you further your mission. The magic truly happens when a charity and corporate partnership go beyond a transactional donor recipient relationship to boost each other’s popularity and brand awareness - like Proctor & Gamble's wish granting partnership between Fairy and Make A Wish.


Interested in finding out how we can help you to build successful corporate partnerships for your charity? Get in touch with a member of our team today.

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