Our Senior Account Manager Emma Rose has over 7 years’ experience helping charities make the most of their online fundraising at Virgin Money Giving and has noticed two main challenges that charities face with corporate fundraising; firstly, it can undoubtedly be intimidating, where to start? And secondly, those that do win corporate support often don’t cultivate the relationship for long term gains.
Emma points out that ‘winning’ the corporate isn’t just about the initial pitch – it’s all about building on this, maintaining and strengthening the relationship. You want them to want to stay with you and keep supporting you. So how can you do this?
Emma’s top tips to help you keep your corporate impressed and inspired:
1. Decide on your communications plan
Do they prefer a face to face meeting, emails, a call, a mixture of all of them? Plan in regular catch ups to see how they are getting, stay on top of potential issues and keep them up to date. Be flexible and able to change this as required.
2. Provide them with regular fundraising reports from Virgin Money Giving
Make it as easy as possible for them to manage their individual fundraisers internally. Provide them with marketing material such as quotes, case studies, imagery and other collateral from your charity that they can use in internal newsletters, communications and intranet articles. You want to make their role as easy and enjoyable as possible – and also in the process know that they are sharing the correct and relevant information about you.
3. Thank them regularly
Let them know how what they have done so far has made a difference to your charity. What have they made happen that would not have been possible without their help? People love to know what they have achieved and to get praise for it. This is information they will want to share and in turn mean great PR for your charity.
4. Continue to inspire and educate them on what you do
Invite staff (where appropriate) to come and visit with your charity and see the great work you do first hand them. Offer to go and talk to their staff about what you do. Are you able to offer staff volunteering opportunities as well as fundraising? This will all really motivate them to want to help more.
Is it really the end?
After your campaign, taking time for reflection with your corporate partner will help you improve your activities next time. This could even be a great time to raise the prospect of prolonging the relationship. Don’t be shy…ask! By this point they should really know you as a charity and in turn, you should understand what motivates them. Suggest you extend the relationship. If they say “no” you’ve not lost anything and at least you tried.
Can they help you in other ways?
If they can’t extend the relationship, they may be able to help in smaller and other ways – would they be willing to provide a case study? Would they be able to speak to other corporates on your behalf and help with future pitches? Do they have introductions they could make for you? Could they get involved with sponsoring events? There are lots of other things they could potentially do for you.
With all this activity and relationship building, your corporate should be more than willing to continue supporting you, if not as a company, then maybe some of the staff individually on a personal level. They should like you so much they don’t want to leave you!
Ultimately, if you have truly inspired them and made the experience great, they will spread the word with their friends, family and colleagues, constantly creating potential new ambassadors for your charity.