Corporate responsibility (CSR) strategy is wholly imbedded in any large Corporate organisation worth its salt, with most now taking a proactive approach to charitable support.
As a result, more and more Corporates are plugging the financial gaps left by Government funding (or lack thereof!).
Sceptics continue to debate but, without a doubt, the relationship between Charity and Corporate is win:win. Charities are able to grow their supporter base and invest more in their cause; and Corporates can improve brand equity whilst engaging employees in new and exciting ways.
With Corporate investment now making up such a large percentage of income for most Charities (Macmillan received £23.1m from Trusts and Corporates in 2014, just £1m shy of their General Donation income) my experience and advice in this area has never been of more value to our clients when it comes to producing video content for charities.
For charities looking to secure and, more importantly, retain these fruitful Corporate partnerships, I can offer the following advice;
1. Do your homework
When we were tendering for Fujitsu’s next ‘Charity of the Year’ (COTY), some of the most impressive applications I read saw the charities offering solutions to problems I didn’t realise existed.
They had taken the initiative to research our employee demographic or geographical location and then proposed ideas based on these. Others had read up on our competitors’ CSR initiatives and shared ideas around developing an improved programme.
So, with this in mind;
- Consider what the Corporates’ challenges are and how your charity can help
- Bespoke your correspondence and align your objectives as closely as possible
- Research previous partnerships and their successes
- Research competitors and demonstrate an awareness of the sector
- If possible, speak with the person receiving applications to register interest/get yourself on their radar. This will also allow you to apply to an actual person rather than a generic Sir/Madam.
2. Define your Unique Selling Point (USP)
These Corporate Charity partnerships can be worth a small fortune and as a result, competition is rife. In order to stand out from the masses, you need to consider what sets you apart from other, similar charities.
- Keep a focus on IMPACT. Who exactly does your charity support, how and why? Tell a story and leave people with an emotional connection
- Share your success stories – shout them loud and proud. It will demonstrate professionalism and leave the Corporate feeling confident about your ability to drive real change
- Don’t be afraid to reach for the sky and make unique suggestions. Most COTY offerings will have a pre-agreed contribution limit but so long as you’re within those perimeters, most asks are fair game
3. Don’t just ask for cash, demonstrate mutual benefit
These days, very few partnerships between a Charity and Corporate focus solely on fundraising. Gift in Kind (GIK) is becoming more valuable as Charities look to partner with organisations who can align with their growth strategies and help extend their reach.
From the Corporate’s perspective, they get to utilise their key skills or services whilst showcasing their capabilities in a new sector. A good example of this is Fujitsu’s COTY partnership with Action for Children; the strategy concentrates on both organisations skills-sharing and building on expertise to develop vital children’s services.
- Look at the key expertise of the Corporate and how you could utilise their product/services to benefit and maximise exposure for both parties
- Try not to focus too much on money. Services, time and expertise all have significant value but will cost the Corporate less off the bottom line
- Focus on employee engagement. Regardless of who you’re pitching for, they will absolutely have a KPI around this – and more than likely the final decision will be made via an employee vote
- List the mutual benefits clearly. As with any partnership, the Corporate will be asking ‘what’s in it for me’. Work with your marketing and service delivery teams to ensure your offers are realistic. If you are unable to tick the boxes then it may not be the right partnership for you.
For more advice around securing Corporate support, or creating an engaging video marketing campaign to help win partnerships, please do get in touch by calling 0203 405 2260.
About the author
Client Services Director
Christiaan is our client services director, who has been in the industry for over 10 years, starting out as a filmmaker. He’s been at Spectrecom since day one so his company and business knowledge is unmatched.