My top 3 tips to prove you are ready for corporate support

For those of you familiar with Doug Ford and his coining of the slogan “Open for Business” when discussing investment growth in Ontario [barf], just trust me – it was mine, before it was his. For years, I have used the expression “are you open for business?” to challenge my clients in assessing whether, as a charity, they demonstrate that they are open to new and exciting partnerships.

So, despite the desire to gag, I’m going to stick with it long enough to share my top 3 tips that you can use to let companies know that you are “open for business”.

Is your social media corporate friendly?

It is really important that your social media feed reflect that you are corporate partner friendly. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • Thanking current partners
  • Posting photos of employee groups engaging in volunteer activities
  • Acknowledging corporate leaders and board members
  • Retweeting and liking posts from your favourite companies and businesses
  • Profiling event sponsors across channels

What is your website saying about you?

Companies and businesses aren’t necessarily going to spend a lot of time on your website, but it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll take a peek prior to jumping on a call.  And when they do, they’ll want to know that you and your organization are two things: credible and trustworthy.

The best way to communicate that you’re a reliable partner is by showcasing other companies across your site. You can do this by providing a list of corporate partners who have previously sponsored an event or program. This list of well-respected companies will instill confidence that your charity has already been well vetted.

Want to go one step further? Include a list of board directors and their corporate affiliation, highlighting prominent leaders within the business company. If you have achieved Imagine Canada Standards, make sure that too is clearly visible and easy to find.

And for the gold standard, a company’s impact or role shared within a story, blog or case study. That’s being done by very few companies, and it will totally set you apart.

Are your organizational systems in place?

I know that policies and procedures are boring (was that my outside voice?), but they are important when it comes to businesses supporting your charity. You need to know before you pick up the phone that you are willing and able to accept support from the company that is calling you. This means that you have a process for determining what companies are on the “no go” list. It also means that you know the difference between the recognition you’re going to provide for a donation vs. a sponsorship. Having these things thought through in advance helps you communicate with a potential corporate partner in a way that is clear and professional.

Of course, there are many ways to reinforce that you are open for business but start with these three and you will be well on your way! And next time you ask yourself why the same charities get all the corporate support, consider just how prepared for business they truly are.

Do you have questions about setting up organizational systems or increasing partner visibility on your social feed or website? Let’s talk it through! [email protected].