You’ve got to admire Anthony Robbins and how he is able to motivate and generate self confidence in everyone. His style and his smile are infectious. With corporate partnerships, you need more than just a big smile and enthusiasm to win a pitch. It’s about substance as well as style.
We are often asked to help charities with an important pitch to a corporate partner. Whether you’re responding to a competitive pitch or you’re presenting at the end of careful relationship discussions. Instead, we focus on the 4 key elements of the pitch that are critical to success.
- Planning & Preparation
A successful pitch requires planning and preparation. That’s why we help clients to work through the partnership engagement cycle. Good planning includes understanding your own assets and what you’ve got to offer, developing your value proposition, doing your research on potential partners and understanding your own no-go areas.
You need to be internally ready to pitch, before you ever get in front of a corporate.
Perspective is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your corporate prospect. Don’t go into the pitch like the world’s worst date and just talk about yourself. You need to get to know as much about them as possible- their hotspots, what matters to them, their challenges, hopes and values. Your pitch needs to show that you’ve taken the time to understand their needs and then you’ll be able to articulate why the proposed partnership meets those needs or helps achieve their organisational goals.
Don’t give them a cold pitch without doing your research and due diligence. If possible, try to schedule a discovery meeting to ask them some probing questions and then the pitch will reflect a better understanding of their needs.
Remember- your corporate prospect needs to be the hero of the story, not your charity. Show them throughout your pitch what you can do for them.
- Partnership architecture
You will need to outline the compelling reason for the partnership i.e the answers to the questions “Why now? Why us? What can we achieve together?”
For a partnership with multiple points of engagement, it’s a great idea to introduce your team members. Depending on the nature of the partnership you may need to include marketing, PR, programs, volunteering or HR. Let the corporate get to know the wider team as this will be an organisational relationship, not just one person in fundraising.
Identify the synergies between your two organisations and give a strawman outline of how the partnership might work: don’t make the partner do all the thinking for you.
This is a much- neglected part of any pitch. Everyone can produce a glossy brochure or slick PowerPoint deck, but it’s not just about how many children you educated or homeless people you fed. Corporates are also interested in what you’ve achieved for your partners.
Provide specific examples from other partnerships eg if it was a CRM then outline sales uplift, increased footfall, new customer acquisition, PR value, brand tracking results etc. Testimonial is helpful, but can be vague- the evidence needs to have crunchy numbers in it.
Many charities fail to collect this type of proof systematically. Make sure you include relevant measurement points in your partnership agreement, so that your partner shares with you the outcomes, success points etc. This becomes a valuable evidence bank to include in future pitches.
Corporates report to shareholders or investors- they need the evidence to show why they’re investing in your charity. Give them plenty of proof to help their decision making.
We know that any pitch needs to have some passion, conviction and a touch of panache thrown in. You can use props, materials, videos and all sorts of things to bring a pitch to life. But even if you’re bringing a cute puppy like our friends at Guide Dogs, or a flight simulator like Royal Flying Doctors, then your pitch will be incomplete without the key elements. Invest some time in the 4Ps and you’ll be much better positioned for pitching success.
If you’d like to know more about pitching for corporate partnerships or how to make your organisation Partnership Ready, then contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org