In the last five years there has been a £1.2 billion increase* in the amount given by companies in the FTSE100+, and corporate fundraisers on JustGiving raise 70% more, on average. That’s why there is no better time to review your corporate partnerships.
Here are eight top tips to reinvigorate your corporate relationships – or win new ones:
1. Keep it fresh, but don’t reinvent the wheel
Research what your current and (and potential) corporate organisations have done in the past and what has been successful. If they have run a European cycle each year and have a team of keen cyclists then offer them another one in a new, exciting destination. The challenge will be fresh but the activity will be something that’s familiar.
2. Explain what the corporate social impact will be
When pitching challenge event ideas, make clear the sponsorship expectations and what the corporate social impact will be. For example, if 50 employees take part in a London to Paris cycle with a net profit of £40,000, show them what that money will be used for and what impact it will make to their overall fundraising goal. Making it tangible will enable them to easily share this with sponsors and spread the message of the work you do.
3. Find out who the driving force is
If they have successfully recruited for challenge events in the past, find out who the key players were in getting colleagues to sign up and be sure to arrange for someone in your organisation who is at the same level to engage with them. These are the people who have the networks and connections and in turn will engage their own staff in your event.
4. Invite beneficiaries
Where possible, try and have beneficiaries or your service users take part or be part of your event in some way. A successful example of this is when we ran a cycle ride for BlackRock who were fundraising for Whizz-Kidz and they had some of the children meet them at the end point at their offices. It really brings the motivation for the challenge to life and helps enormously with engagement.
5. Ensure your events teams and corporate teams are communicating
It’s really important that as events managers, you know whether your corporate team will require places for their corporate partners on events, as this will enable you to set budgets and income forecasts. If some of your event income needs to be allocated to corporate fundraising make sure that you plan for this, and be clear about how many places are available to your corporate team.
6. Success is about thinking big!
You don’t have to be big to be successful when it comes to corporate partnerships and corporate events – you just need to think big. Analyse whether your corporate partners have other charities that they support, and start discussions as to whether you can do a joint bespoke event. This can serve you particularly well if you are creating the opportunity for networking.
7. Be in the position to act fast
Many companies have the impression that charities are not able to act in a commercial way. You need to be able to act fast. Corporates often want decisions made promptly and this reflects the lead-in time for corporate challenges, which is typically much shorter. On average charities give themselves a 15 month recruitment period for an event, whereas corporates average 8 months but this can be as little as 4.
8. Be the expert in the room
Corporates value your expertise so be clear about what you can offer them. Invite us in as part of your charity team to talk them through the options, answer their questions, manage their expectations and most importantly – inspire them!
*The Charities Aid Foundation survey