Can you imagine pitching a corporate partnership only half dressed? We’ve all had one of those dreams. Or the embarrassing realisation that your fly is down, or your skirt is tucked in your knickers. It’s an uncomfortable feeling of being unprepared and vulnerable. So often we hear about not-for-profits who are pitching to corporate partners in this exact way… not literally, thankfully, but they are metaphorically pitching half-dressed without having compiled a complete asset catalogue.
We’ve recently been on a tour around Australia talking to organisations about corporate partnerships. In surveying our events I’m always astounded by the amount of organisations that are pitching for corporate partnerships but don’t have an asset catalogue. Yes, a charity’s programs make up part of an offering in a corporate partnership but only one part of it. Partnering in this way will give a charity limited value compared to the additional areas of value they could have gained if theyinvested the time to systematically gather and understand what their organisation has to offer to a potential partner, above and beyond their programs.
Here are the real benefits of an asset catalogue and why your not-for-profit should have one:
1) Assets are the components of what your organisation has to offer, from which you can highlight the features and benefits to a partner. When you purchase any product there is basic information and questions that you have. These might be size, colour, what material it’s made from and where it’s manufactured. I asked these exact questions when I bought a bed recently and found it had a 5 year warranty, that it would be delivered and assembled (all features) saving me time, hassle and giving me peace of mind (benefits). The most sophisticated charities, not necessarily the biggest, know the metrics of what they have to offer. Importantly they can also describe the features and benefits of their assets to a potential partner, such as ‘brand activations with your target audience enabling exposure and lasting emotional interactions with your brand’. Without knowing your assets how can you describe what value you’re bringing to the partnership and what you can do for their business?
2) You might not have the commercial assets of a professional football club, but you will have things that are completely unique to your organisation and importantly, they will be valuable to specific businesses. This uniqueness will help you identify which businesses might be interested in what you have to offer. Opposites don’t attract in Corporate Partnerships and one key element of alignment is finding the strongest offerings of your asset catalogue and thinking about who would be interested in them. If you had a young female audience would you be targeting Bunnings? No, but there will be other businesses who are very interested in your audience.
3) Once you have catalogued your assets you will be able to identify the gaps and where you need to enhance them further. Some organisations are able to describe the quantity of their assets, such as how big their audience is but aren’t recording the granular detail through Mosaic profiling or similar. These gaps, once identified, need to be filled so that you can compete with what the more sophisticated organisations are presenting.
Your asset register is the equipment your organisation needs to be successful at corporate partnerships beyond program funding. Cinderella wouldn’t have won the heart of the prince dressed in rags and looking dishevelled. Please don’t send your Partnership Managers out to win the hearts and wallets of prospective partners similarly dressed.
For more information on corporate partnerships or help with accelerating your corporate partnerships program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org