What does a corporate want?

Partnerships between the corporate sector and not for profit entities need to be based on a strong understanding of each other’s needs, objectives and aspirations. NFP’s who invest in time to understand the key drivers for their prospective corporates partners will find the areas of synergy that become the foundation for a long term relationship. Equally, they will be able to decide if the alignment is missing and a different organization is a more appropriate prospect.

Based on the experience of Stellar Partnerships, the checklist below outlines some of the benefits that corporates have sought from prospective NFP partners. The challenge for the NFP is to then identify its own key assets and whether it is willing or able to bring some of these to the partnership in order to deliver on the desired benefits.

Media, PR, brand and marketing

o Ability to cross promote across multiple marketing platforms/ media

o Endorsement of a product/ service by the organization/ spokesperson

o Promotional main media time/ space (eg during a high profile humanitarian crisis)

o Ability to cross promote with other appropriate partners/ sponsors

o Endorsement by or access to celebrity ambassadors and the ability to leverage PR/media

o Access to an NFP’s specialists, thought leaders or executive for brand and communication purposes

o Improvement in brand recognition/ net promoter score

o Increased profile and positive PR on social media platforms

o Naming rights to a significant property (eg building, technology platform, program or service)

o Opportunities for key customer hospitality at an event/during a campaign that will enhance the corporate’s brand

New channels

o Promotion opportunities at venues not currently accessible to the corporate

o Gaining exclusive supply to venues or at an event where they had no presence

o Direct access to the beneficiaries of an NFP’s programs for marketing purposes (eg a school based campaign that enables access to youth markets for consumer products)

o Promotion opportunities in your marketing channels and materials (digital, social media, print, physical outlets etc)

Access to new customers/ markets

o Retail cross promotion opportunities

o Ways to involve customers, suppliers or channels in the event/ campaign/ partnership

o Opportunity to create experiential marketing or sampling through the partnership

o Direct sales opportunities

o Increase in customer footfall in stores or online purchasing

o Access to a database that reflects one of their target markets

o The opportunity to create a new database (eg from event participants) that the corporate can own longer term with the NFP

o Opportunity for shared research that will inform new market developments

Employee engagement

o Opportunity for staff volunteering/ participation in programs/ secondments to bring skills and expertise to the NFP

o Improvement in employee engagement/ retention/ satisfaction scores

o Positive stories from the partnership that can be used to showcase the depth of the corporate’s talent/ expertise/ commitment/ leadership

o Opportunity for training of interns/ graduates through placement within the charity

o Access to your specialists, thought leaders or executives for in-house corporate programs (eg health and wellbeing, leadership development)

Advancing the organizational strategy

o Access to new global markets that align with the company’s growth strategy (eg new markets in developing countries)

o Your influence with government or other significant stakeholders on the corporate’s behalf

o Creation of new products or development of product variations as a result of the partnership (eg SCUK and GSK with chlorhexidine)

o Natural link with core brand values/ product attributes

o Creative ways for leveraging the partnership

o The ability to differentiate from competitors and create a meaningful competitive advantage as a result of the partnership

The above list is a sample of benefits that have been proposed by corporates interested in partnering with NFP’s. It is not a complete list, but simply a prompt to assist charities in understanding the key drivers from a corporate’s perspective. Stellar Partnerships recommends that any NFP embarking on new corporate partnerships should conduct their own extensive research, including direct dialogue with key representatives of any corporate prospect. The ability to demonstrate understanding of your target’s key drivers will convey a professional approach and will build trust and credibility in the eyes of your corporate prospect in advance of any formal partnership proposal.

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