Meaningful & Consistent Connection
Let’s talk building momentum and building meaningful relationships with your Corporate Partners and Sponsors—this is an old one (2019) but still a good one from The Small NonProfit (on Charity Village). Everything discussed in this podcast remains true four years later, but there is an important stand out piece for me on the re-listen:
A slogan for your corporate partnership success is:
It’s incredibly simple if you think about the alternative. And we’ve all been there:
What not to do!
You secured a corporate partner last year. You’ve put the funds to use. You added their logo to your website and generally checked all the boxes in your fulfillment agreement, sure.
But, you didn’t make it to that event they were hosting a few months back. And, you meant to email them a big heartfelt note with an update but it just didn’t happen.
And before you knew it, nearly a year has passed and it’s time to make the ask for renewed support. It’s… awkward. The relationship hasn’t been nurtured. Communication hasn’t been consistent and so it feels like starting from scratch.
What to do!
You secured a corporate partner last year. You’ve put the funds to use and checked all the boxes in your fulfillment agreement. You added the key stakeholders to your email lists, followed their accounts on social media. You’ve made a note with your comms team to make sure that at least once a quarter, that the sponsor’s contribution is noted in a meaningful and tangible way via your email and social media.
You spend 30 mins every week checking out what the partner is up to on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter and hitting that Like or Share button, maybe from your organization’s account or even from your own. Twice a year you send a personal note to the sponsor to give them an exclusive scoop on what’s happening at your organization.
A year has passed and it’s time to ask for renewed support. You feel confident about your connection to the partner and are excited to make the ask because you know you’re walking into a positive conversation.
Meaningful, consistent connection. That’s it. That’s the ONE key strategy for making your corporate partnerships successful. Year-round relationship building. It’s also the most simple.
Here’s some things to remember about what meaningful, consistent connection can look like:
- It doesn’t have to be complicated or even custom. Talk to your social media manager or your marketing lead to make sure that meaningful stories you’re already telling are being tied back to acknowledgement for your corporate partner at least once a quarter
- You’re a small shop and you’re laughing at the mention of the above staff? No problem. Connect your organization to the sponsor’s business profiles (and maybe even do it yourself on LinkedIn!), and spend 30 mins a week just liking their posts, hitting the share button or leaving a comment.
- Decide on small, realistic actions based on your available resources to nurture your relationship with your corporate partner: Do you have capacity for a quick email with a meaningful story you’ve already collected every other month? Can you pick up the phone once a quarter to say hi, check in and build rapport?
There’s no ‘one and done’ solution, and these small but effective connections will look different for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
But one thing I can promise you, you’ll never have to dread ‘that’ annual call when you’ve committed to year-round relationship building with your corporate partners – whether it’s a tap on the like button, a quick email anecdote or a friendly phone call. You’ll be dancing your way into your renewal meeting because you stayed consistent.
Say it with me: Meaningful, Consistent Connection.
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