5 steps to jump-starting your best Corporate Fundraising Month Ever!

Is September your second new year? A chance to flip the page and start fresh. Well, for me it is, and with that in mind, I wanted to share with you my 5 steps to jump starting your best best month… in corporate fundraising of course! I might be able to help with other stuff too, but that’s for another day. 😉

After being in the business for a good while, my philosophy remains the same: you get out, what you put in. When we’re talking dollars and cents, this means you’re far more likely to get more money from partners with whom you have taken the time to cultivate a strong, sticky relationship. But building corporate partnership stickiness can take time, a lot of time, which means that the best time for you to start building a foundation, is now. 

So we are on the same page with Corporate Partnership Stickiness, it is:

Corporate Partnership Stickiness: ( heather’s def’n) A charity – corporate partnership which is long-lasting and generates significant revenue by:

  1. Partnering where you have mutual values and goals.
  2. Solving a business need, or better yet more than one!
  3. Being woven into both organizations in a meaningful way connecting through multiple people in different departments.

So, here are 5 steps to your BEST MONTH EVER:      

STEP 1: Take a few minutes to write down 3-4 sentences about why a corporate partner or sponsor is working with you specifically. Try to think about it from their perspective. Practice what you have written from the point of view of showing appreciation for this connection. Inject your script with bits of your own personality. Once you’ve made your notes, pick up the phone and test it out with someone you trust to give you honest feedback. Getting comfortable with showing corporate donor centered appreciation will help you feel prepared the next time you meet up with a potential corporate partner.

STEP 2: Put a 1-hour block in your calendar this Friday and phone 3 corporate partners with whom you haven’t spoken in more than a month. If they answer, let them know that you appreciate their support and then share a recent success or milestone at your organization.

Why Friday? I have found consistently that corporate partners are more open to calls on Friday. If they don’t answer, just leave a pleasant thank you message.

STEP 3: Ask for 10 minutes on your staff team meeting agenda. Spend the time describing a corporate partner, sponsor or donor relationship. Explain to the staff team why that company gives to your organization. Share what that company appreciates about your charity’s work as well as some background information about ways in which you connect with that corporate partner.

STEP 4: Ok, this one is a bit more involved! I want you to plan a focus group breakfast involving up to 10 corporate partners. Schedule it 6 weeks from now and select a topic that will evoke discussion and engagement from all sides. It could be their visibility at your last event, ways to maximize your social channels, or a logistics or marketing question your organization is currently facing. Invite your partners to nominate someone from their organization to join. Lead a group discussion and follow up with a 1-page summary of what was discussed.

This one is about creating stickiness between you and your corporate partners. It’s about deepening your relationship. For this reason, it isn’t critical that your primary contact attends – in fact, in may be beneficial if they send someone new! After all, you’re looking to get to know more people at the company and create an opportunity for employee engagement where none formally exist. Once you’ve run through it once or twice, you’ll realize that a 1-hour breakfast focus group is not that hard. Just do it!

STEP 5: Attend a networking event. Go to your local chamber of commerce breakfast, a Canada Club lunch, a Sponsorship Marketing Council Event, a fundraising event for another charity or a fundraising social with the Association of Fundraising Professionals. There are so many choices, many of which are very affordable. Pick one and go! You need to practice your messaging and you need to meet people in the corporate sector if you want to raise money from them. So, start building relationships and learning more about what resonates when you share your pitch with corporations or local businesses. (for tips on building your elevator pitch, check this out.)

You know what’s great about your best month ever? You can do it again next month! Building corporate partnership stickiness is a long-term commitment that requires a consistent effort to develop new relationships and deepen the ones you have.

If this really does seem out of reach, call me. Let’s brainstorm how we can make it comfortable for you! Maybe you just need a cheerleader and practice partner. Maybe you need someone to send you ideas. Either way, I can help.

You’ve got this!