“She knows if you bought the flowers from the servo”
This was the sign outside my local florist. Enough to strike fear and guilt into the cheapskate Romeos in the neighbourhood. It’s Valentine’s Day soon and the shops are awash with ways to show your love.
You can avoid the overpriced red roses or handmade chocolates, but you can make an effort to share the love among your corporate partners, colleagues and supporters. The best way to nurture relationships is to show how much you value them. As Brené Brown said, ‘trust is built in very small moments”, so gestures of appreciation go a long way to building trust between partners and colleagues. Here are some ideas to get you started.
We spoke with a large corporate retailer last year who had to cajole her charity partner into providing a LinkedIn post about their 6-figure partnership. It’s the easiest and cheapest thing to say nice things about your partner on social media. Post a thank you on LinkedIn and tag your network, share their post and add some comments to show how much they are valued. Third party reviews are much more valuable for a corporate than the media releases they prepare themselves. Don’t make them wait and certainly don’t make them ask- especially if it’s a valuable partnership.
Christmas is not the only time for giving. You can surprise and delight your partner at any time of the year. We love the children’s charity who sent framed handprints done by kids in their education programs to their partner as keepsakes. Another charity recorded short video thanks from their CEO and emailed it to their partner’s senior leadership.
I was working in an organisation with a QLD office when the catastrophic floods came through Brisbane and surrounding areas. We know that our colleagues were struggling to keep programs running whilst dealing with their own personal challenges. So, we recorded a video of our Melbourne office team giving them a round of cheers, applause and supportive messages. That little video did more to break down the state office silos than anything else.
When you celebrate winning a new partnership, did you remember to acknowledge the colleagues that helped you along the way? The programs team that provided specialist insight, the marketing team who did the media or the HR team that organised the teams of volunteers? Success has many friends, so don’t forget to nurture a strong coalition of support for your partnerships.
Your board members may seem remote, but they are human too. Often, they’re putting their reputation and relationships on the line to introduce you to new partners. Did you give them an update on what worked and what happened? Can you make sure you thanked them for filling 10 tables of paying attendees at your gala event? If you don’t get to see them face to face, then put their names in your next update report. Not only will it make them feel valued, but it will inspire the others to lift their game!
You’ll notice that most of these ideas don’t involve roses, chocolates or expensive Cartier watches. As Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Share the love with your corporate partners and see it return tenfold.