At Stellar Partnerships we’re romantics at heart and we often talk about corporate partnerships as a marriage and not a speed date. We just read a fun article about a Survival Guide for dating and thought of all the similarities that it had with finding new corporate partnerships. Just like your favourite match-making friend, we’d like to offer some tips from the dating experts for all of you hopeful partnerships managers out there.
- Stop passively dating
Do you have a picture of that perfect partner and you’re waiting for them to notice you? Well, it worked for Rapunzel, but I’m guessing that your prospective partner isn’t likely to fight dragons and climb the tower to find you. Being a passive dater means that you’re likely to allow some less than ideal partners into your circle, which is not a solid base for a relationship. Think about what you’re looking for in a partner and be proactive in approaching partners that share your values, interests and ambitions.
- Look inwards and check what you’re bringing to the table
Being needy and clingy isn’t the most attractive thing to a prospective date. Corporate partners are interested in how you meet their needs, so you need a clear view of what you’re offering in return. Charities often forget to do their homework and catalogue their assets, meaning that they don’t have a clear view of the benefits that they can offer to a corporate partner. You wouldn’t ask a first date to borrow their car and lend you some money, so don’t expect a corporate partner to get excited unless you’re bringing something to the table for them.
- Be shameless
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Equally, don’t flinch from asking your prospective partner some pointed questions about their level of capacity or commitment. You want to know if they’re more interested in a one-night stand or if they’re genuinely looking for something longer term. If you’re confident about what you have to offer, then don’t be shy about asking your partner for a commitment that gives you a meaningful outcome. Women are often criticised for failing to ask for a pay rise whilst men go ahead and demand it at the first opportunity. How frustrating would it be for you getting less than what you’re worth? Don’t let your charity miss out on the full value of a partnership by asking for too little.
- Be strategic
Partnerships can be hard work and sometimes you need help. Unless you’ve got a following like a Kardashian, you’ll need to tap into other people’s networks to make the right introductions. This is where your board, leadership, colleagues and ambassadors come in. Map your networks and get warm introductions to the types of partners you’re looking for. Then you’ll have some insight into your target prospects, and you’ll be able to filter out the no-hopers, dead-beats and time wasters that inhabit the dating scene.
Dating in the modern world has changed a lot since Jane Austen’s heroines waited to be introduced to their ideal marriage partner. In 2019 if you’re looking for your own Mr Darcy, then you’d better be proactive, organised and assertive about it. Mrs Bennet would be horrified, but you’ll have the last laugh as you head into the sunset with your perfect corporate partner.