Finding a perfect match in any relationship is always difficult, even more so when you’re a charity looking for a corporate partner.
Finding a business to support your cause through thick and thin, where you both work towards achieving a common shared goal, is tough. To help make things easier it is important to understand that the most successful corporate partnerships share three key elements: a) they are mutually beneficial, b) both parties will share the same values and ‘make sense’ and c) there is open and honest communication on both sides from the start.
So, why look at corporate partnerships and who benefits?
The good news is that relationships between local businesses and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) have a head start in the sense that both parties have a vested interest in making corporate partnerships work from the start.
Benefits for a Business
There are many great reasons for businesses to considering partnering with a charity. Below are examples of some of these:
Benefits for a Charity
- Employee Satisfaction: Organisations that partner with charities and facilitate community engagement initiatives tend to have better employee retention, satisfaction, and engagement than those without. Increasingly, employees want to feel proud of their workplace and this give them a great reason to do so.
- Public Image: It can help raise an organisations profile and reputation in Medway and it’s communities and raise awareness on local causes.
- Improve Community Visibility: It can increase awareness of your organization, programs, and cause. Businesses are great at networking, and part of their strategy is building trust with consumers and community members; this trust can also transfer to their charity partners. It can also help increase a workforces’ awareness of local causes and needs.
The benefits are even bigger for charities as businesses typically have one thing that charities don’t – resources. Charities, used to working with tight budgets and scrutiny over how they spend it, also have very limited time. By partnering up with organisations, below are just a couple of reasons of how charities can benefit:
- Have access to a further bank of volunteers
- Access to specialised skills such as marketing, finance etc
- Increased capacity to fundraise, and much more.
- Access to surplus products or donations connected to their partner organisations
Below you will find some helpful things to think about when looking for a corporate partnership for your charity.
What sort of support does your charity need?
Corporate partnership can take a number of different forms and understanding what you want this support to look like, before you start looking, can save you lots of time later on and make for a more effective relationship for both parties.
Below are some examples of the different forms that they can take, including links where you can find out more:
How to get started
When your charity is ready to start looking, take a look at some helpful tips below that will help guide you in the right direction when looking for the right corporate partner:
- Do your research: Look for organisations who already have a presence in your community. These may include branches of larger companies, smaller local businesses, local sports teams and organisations who may have offices in your area.
- Does the partnership make sense: Look for businesses whose resources, skills and interests make sense for your programme. For example: Foodbanks may partner with local supermarkets who have surplus food to donate.
- Utilize personal connections: Board members, staff, suppliers and volunteers may already have connections to local businesses in your community. Don’t be afraid to ask around for referrals.
- Are your values similar and do you share common goals: Once you’ve identified potential partners, dig deeper to understand their values and goals. Investing time into meeting up with prospect partners to understand their culture and learn more about the things you won’t see on websites or flyers, can prove very beneficial before entering into any arrangements.
So, whatever your charity and whatever your cause, there will be a match out there for you and Medway Voluntary Action (MVA) can help. MVA can offer support in helping your charity to connect with local businesses that may have volunteer time, money, products or other similar resources to donate.
You can contact MVA either by phone on 01634 812 850 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
to visit the NCVO’s guide on working with partners
Click HERE to download a Government Report On Charities & Commercial Partners
to find out more about Neighbourly – An app that helps match local businesses to local charities to support their causes.
Click HERE to read some guidelines on finding corporate partnerships from the National Council of Nonprofits