Impact of Awareness Months on Corporate Partnerships

Is having an ‘official’ month a good thing?

As we are currently watching partnership announcements, donations and marketing campaigns highlighting corporate commitment to lgbtq+ rights and people, you are definitely aware it is Pride Month.

You may be thinking:  “how lucky are those orgs? It must be easy for them to get corporate support at this time of year.”

Some of you may also be with an organization who has maximized the opportunity. And a few may be in the place where you have not yet cracked the code on being a part of these time sensitive campaigns.

Wherever you are in this journey, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you…

Please note, in this post I’m not going to comment on whether or not companies are doing it for the ‘right’ reasons or if they are authentic in their commitment. That’s a discussion for another day and a more qualified expert.  

Here I want to discuss: Are profile months good for corporate partnerships? 

And the short answer is mostly, YES!! 

Particularly if you know how to truly maximize the support you receive and you receive it from values aligned companies. 

The reason official “awareness” months are good for corporate partnerships, is that in these months: 

1. Companies need to be seen as aware or invested in this specific cause.

2. The month creates an ‘emergency’ or sense of urgency to support a cause that may otherwise not receive significant attention.

3. The timing provides your organization with a golden opportunity to be the answer to the business problem these companies face.

If you are able to maximize these months because your organization itself aligns or you have a key program that aligns, it is in your best interest to have a plan of how you are going to efficiently outreach and fulfill. 

However, it’s not all rosy even if you are at a company that fits on alignment, and that’s because there are some potential pitfalls. 

Potential pitfalls

1. The company has a goal that is either engagement or visibility. This is not to say they aren’t doing authentic work on the cause – they may or may not be – but their primary reason for reaching out to you is engagement and visibility. It does not necessarily include financial support. So, it is your job to ensure you educate them on the importance of financial support for your visible partnership, so that meaningful change happens.

2. The engagement opportunity the company has come up with is not a great fit for your organization. It may be hard for people to participate in. It may have a message that doesn’t totally fit with your values. Make sure that you have a high-touch approach to ensuring that the engagement opportunity and the messaging are what your organization wants to be associated with. 

3. The campaign is built on one-time support. One-time support from a company is almost never worth it. Corporate partnerships that work build over time. Your view of the support from the very first conversation needs to be how to make it long term, multi-year, and sustainable. 

4. The campaign is only based on customer donations, not up-front investment from the company. Always ask where the money is coming from. Often campaigns that are public involve public donations. And that can be really good – customers can be very generous. However, there always needs to be financial investment by the company too. 

So, whether it is June, or another month of the year that is a fit for your organization, I encourage you to develop a thoughtful strategy to maximize your corporate partnership potential.

And don’t forget, your organization is doing important work. Your organization has high value in this partnership. So, when you are talking to the company, be clear about your values, your needs and above all the financial investment that works for you.

You’ve got this!

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