Building, Developing and Sustaining Corporate Partnerships
It has been a very busy couple of weeks for our Fundraising and Marketing team: 50 walkers donned the bright green Achieve More T-shirt and a kilt to walk the Glasgow Kiltwalk on 29th April, the following week we held our annual #AimHigh Charity Ball, with over 160 supporters in attendance. These events are vital to raise much needed unrestricted funds to enable us to develop and deliver new and responsive services for our participants. Another key aspect of our fundraising is our relationships with corporate partners.
Are our corporate partnerships working? How do we measure this? Are the partnerships we have benefiting both the charity and the partner?
These are important questions to ask and answer if the partnerships are to be, not only sustained, but grown over time.
I believe that corporate partnerships need to be about more than the charity simply asking for financial support. At Achieve More Scotland we value the contributions that our partners make beyond financial assistance.
Partnerships should not be restricted to financial transaction. Nor should they be dependent on the wishes, whims and capacity of corporates.
When I think of partnering with a company, I consider the potential of its greatest resource – the employees. I consider two things: first, the value of engaging a passionate employee in a volunteering activity at our charity activities and, second, I recognise the pool and potential of untapped skills on offer via our corporate partners. At Achieve More Scotland! we look for creative ways to engage a company’s employees to make our corporate partnership a success.
Recently, one of our supporters donated staff time over the period of a full week to deliver football coaching at our Easter holiday programme. This kind of support makes a significant difference to our young people who have the chance to meet partners in more friendly way. Not only that, but for us finding a supporter who buys into our mission and our values, means much more than a simple donation, it allows us to work together as friends and build a relationship that will make a real impact in our communities.
When engaging with new partnerships I like to come armed with lots of ideas about creative ways to work with companies. This can include details of the ways we are working with other companies or just fun ideas for things I’d like to happen – pipe-dreams or otherwise.
So, what if a company can’t make that £25,000 donation this year? They might commit to hosting an event for us, or to providing food, clothing or sports equipment to our participants. I believe that it’s important not to be nervous about offering multiple routes to partnership – our experience is that our partners are impressed at our creativity, commitment, perseverance and our brass neck!
We are still learning the lessons of corporate/charity partnerships and plan to introduce new ideas in the coming months. We plan to assign a relationship officer to every company we work with. We hope that this will show dedication from our charity and a willingness always to go the extra mile to build the partnership.
I recognise the value of keeping information transparent between our charity and the companies that we work with. Changes, updates, new projects, news and achievements happening within our organisation are all things that I believe our partners love to know – keeping companies in the loop makes them feel engaged, valued and respected – I believe that these are some of the great attributes for a long-term partnership.