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Stellar Partnerships

Stellar Partnerships: Corporate & Community Partnership

Corporate partnerships- time to reinvent, not pivot


The buzzword of the COVID-19 crisis. It makes me think of a ballerina en pointe, doing rapid turns that makes my head spin.

Have you been trying to ‘pivot’ your corporate partnerships? But the definition of pivot doesn’t  describe what’s happening in business right now. Pivot gives the impression that you just need to make a turn or two to get on the right track. What you really need to do right now is reinvent the way that you do corporate- community partnerships.  Why?

A recent survey by McKinsey of business leaders had the following insights:

  • 90% of leading executives believe that COVID-19 will fundamentally change the way they do business in the next 5 years
  • 85% are concerned that it will have a lasting impact on their customers’ needs and wants
  • 70 % of executives think COVID-19 will be a big opportunity for growth

Pivot was a convenient word to describe the sudden adjustments that business of all sizes had to make due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, we are now moving on from shoring up core business and short-term operational efficiency. The next phase for corporates is to reinvent and adapt their core business to meet changing customer needs and behaviours.

Corporates are building the foundation for new, post-COVID growth and are seeking innovation and inspiration to help them do it. That’s why non-profits need to think beyond a quick pivot and rethink how they approach corporate- community partnerships. The talk of a V-shaped, L-shaped or U-shaped recovery assumes that things revert to normal eventually. But ‘normal’ has changed forever. That means a fundamental reinvention of corporate- community partnerships.

Non-profits need to step away from their reliance on traditional fundraising events and corporate philanthropy. If you want corporate partnerships to make a big dent in the wicked societal problem you’re trying to solve, then you need to understand the core business challenges. How can you help a corporate reinvent their business and change the world at the same time?

Here are a few examples of the challenges faced by corporates right now:

  1. New competitors from different industries

Who would have thought Dyson would be making ventilators? Or gin distillers would be manufacturing hand sanitiser? New competitors are encroaching on a corporate’s traditional markets and core expertise. Could a partnership with your non-profit help them stand out from the competition?

  1. Rapid changes in customer behaviour

Zoom used to be a platform for business communication. Now we’re all spending time on Zoom to do online yoga, chat with grandma and learn how to bake sourdough. Zoom has grown from a B2B company to a B2C mass market product. Could your non-profit help them engage effectively with a mass audience that they didn’t expect to have?

  1. Changes to traditional sales models

Pre-COVID sales used to be face to face and now there’s a rapid shift to digital. How can a corporate build the same engagement with a customer in an online world? Could your non-profit’s inspiration and expertise help them create more effective sales?

  1. The need for new offerings

We are consuming new things in different ways. Zoos are live streaming leopard cubs and museums are conducting virtual tours.  Can you leverage your non-profit’s content, ambassadors or thinking to create new offerings that help a corporate partner engage with their audience?

Remember that McKinsey survey? Despite seeing the new opportunities ahead, only 21% of business leaders feel they have the resources, expertise and commitment to pursue new growth effectively. That creates a huge opportunity for non-profits to bring innovation, new thinking and commitment to solving business problems- and shifting the dial on issues that matter to the community.

John F Kennedy was often quoted as saying that the Chinese word for crisis has two characters: danger + opportunity. Actually, that second character is not opportunity but change.  This crisis is the catalyst for real change in the way that non-profits approach corporate partnerships. Don’t pivot- reinvent. Are you ready to reinvent?

When you’re ready- here are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Subscribe to our Partnerships News in the box below and get our latest blogs, tips and free resources.
  2. Register for our next group training session on Partnership Acquisition Skills to build your confidence in winning new partners.
  3. Work with us 1-1 to find out where to find out how to reinvent your corporate partnerships. Contact us at info@stellarpartnerships.com to arrange a FREE consultation.