corporate partner prospect pipeline

How to Build your Corporate Prospect List

Hands down, one of the most common questions we are asked here at BridgeRaise is “how can I get more corporate sponsorship prospects into my pipeline”?

Whether you call them Corporate Partners or Corporate Sponsors, we’ve built plenty of prospect lists over the years and have developed a bit of a ‘secret recipe’ to adding companies to.

Part 1: Come up With a List of Companies

How do you do this? Here are 5 strategies:

1. Dreamstorm

  • This involves coming up with a list of companies that you WANT to support you. Always start here! It is the most fun to start with companies that you feel good about and get you excited.
  • Figuring out the sectors that make the most sense is fun too. Put these on your list first!

2. Grow your Prospect List based on Current Relationships

  • Warm connections through staff, committees and board members have significantly greater success than cold outreach.
  • Ask around and get these on your list too.

3. Set a plan with your Prospecting Allies

  • What’s a Prospecting Ally? This is a person in your volunteer network who has connections and is willing to make introductions.
  • Meet with them! Need a plan for how to handle this meeting – check out this video.

4. Keep Growing your Connections

  • The best way to grow your prospect list is to be out in the community making connections. Commit to a manageable frequency of community and networking engagements that make sense for your organization. Ask yourself: Are you best suited at Chamber of Commerce events? Special Conferences? Educational Breakfasts? Commit to the best fit.
  • You will be more successful if you start with no list and get out there to meet people then spending time researching companies to put on a list.

5. How Similar Organizations Can Help You Build your Pipeline

  • It’s important to note that this is the last step I would take when you’re building your Corporate Partnership Prospect Pipeline – i.e., you’ve exhausted your warm connections, you’ve maxed out your networking and you still need more.
  • Also, this is not about going after another organization’s partners – first this is totally counter to my abundance approach, and you don’t need to, this is to give you ideas of sectors, or by similar I mean a local organization in another province!
  • We have a whole step by step plan around how to do this in a way that is not icky, and totally prioritizes abundance. Send me a note, and I will send you the instructions!

Follow even 1-3 of these strategies and I promise that you will have a solid list of company names.

Of course, that’s just the beginning, it would be great if writing up a list was enough to turn them into prospects, but it’s not. Now the research side of things comes into play.

Part 2: Getting the “Right” Research

The next step is doing research, but not just any research, the “right” research. Team BridgeRaise has a tried and true method of doing this research and it all starts with 2 of our core values:

1. Relationships first
2. Alignment

With these as your focus you will generate the best research. If you want a template and detailed instructions, check out our Time Saving Templates for our Prospect Briefing Template. It prioritizes the information you need for corporate fundraising, and it’s all about alignment!

Even without the template, here’s what you do: You look for alignment between the company and your organization.

That’s the key. Alignment that answers a business priority, a business need.

Alignment could be a common audience. It could be tight alignment on CSR priorities. It could be that they are seeking employee engagement opportunities in your community and you have a great program.

All of these are good, and if you have more than one, even better. This alignment is going to form the basis of your outreach to talk to them about how you might work together.

While you are looking for alignment, you are also gathering the most important information about their company and their partnerships with charities. You want to ensure you are in the know about what they do, who they are, and what is happening in their industry right now!

You need to know if they are laying off people, if they have just launched a new product, and if they have active social channels.

Now that you have alignment, you need to know who to talk to.

We do a lot of strategic thinking around who the best person to reach out to in each situation is. It is not random, it is thoughtful.

Some criteria for consideration, and this is just a start!:

1. Is this person at an appropriate level in the company based on who is reaching out?
2. Is the person in a relevant role related to the area of alignment identified?
3. Has this person engaged with our organization, or with our Ally, in a way that can be part of the outreach?

Once you’ve identified the right person, the name of the game here is to get an introductory call based on your alignment, and then we can do more research!

I hope this helps you build your prospect pipeline with ease. Need to outsource this, including strategic support to make it happen. Read about how we do this here:

And you’ve got this!! I know it.


Was this helpful? Have you put this approach in practice before? Let us know in the comments below.

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