3 Tips to Maximise Your Charity Partnerships
As a business, do you already have charity or cause-related partnerships in place? Are they performing at the level you want?
We find ourselves in a time where 8/10 Australians are looking to business to lead the way on social change, and for some time 9/10 people globally have been willing to switch brands to one that supported a cause.
Implementing meaningful cause-related partnerships is good for business, your customers and your staff. It’s no longer about logo placement, it’s about impact. Do you feel your level of support is deeply transformational for our community and environment, or are you engaging in more of a transactional way that feel superficial?
If you are looking for ways to engage more deeply and do more together with your charity partners, then here are 3 tips to help maximise your cause-related partnerships.
- Meet them where they’re at.
Your charity partners are more than likely a predominantly mission-focussed organisation. By that I mean that marketing, social media, PR and ‘outward- facing’ promotion may not have always been their highest priority in pursuit of their mission. ‘Talking themselves up’ and signing about their success or impact to the world can be a relatively new or difficult concept for time, budget and resource poor organisations. It’s important to understand that many charities will say ‘yes’ to a partnership, even when they may not be able to run at the pace your brand can go.. You actually have a great role to play here, if you choose to. You can be an enormous support in helping them build capacity. You can do this by asking smart questions to uncover where other opportunities might exist to grow together in ways that not only maximise your investment but most importantly, your collective impact.
- Take time to understand how they operate.
Every single For-Purpose organisation (you may also know them as non-profits, but believe me, they are for-purpose, for-impact and for-social change!) is governed by an executive committee or Board of Directors. These stakeholders are generally volunteers and passionate about the strategic vision and sustainability of the organisation. Not every organisation has staff, some are run completely by the love and skill of volunteers – if this is the case for your charity partner, then the way tasks are delegated and responded to will be different from an organisation that has paid staff. Invariably every charity runs services, programs or projects that deliver impact and propel them towards their mission. Sometimes your cause partner will not be able to initially deliver what you are wanting, at the pace you want it, you need to take time to explore how they operate and that changing the world for the better (even a small part of it) takes time. Fully understanding how they operate and where their key areas of skill lie will be key to helping you maximise any partnership. Not only will your partnership allow you to help enhance what they are already doing well, it will help you be collaborative and identifying any gap in skills and resources and might be an area that you can step in and support further.
- Measure success.
Most charities will have no idea how you measure success or what success looks like for your brand, and often times they may forget to ask. But it does not mean that it’s not something that should be discussed, and in detail. Be open and transparent about what you need from your charity partner, and when you don’t know what or how you will measure what you want, be willing to work together to see what’s possible. Many brands look straight to the bottom line when it comes to measuring their partnerships and sponsorship – after all, everything you spend in your marketing budget will have KPIs and an ROI attached to it. But we all know that partnerships are different – they are not advertising, they offer something much deeper. The right ones offer something intangible and delicious for your customers and employees and that something is ‘authenticity’. Great cause-related partnerships give your brand authenticity and a big measure of the success should be placed in the stories your charity partners share about how they are achieving more, doing more and creating more impact because of your partnership. Of course, if you have staff that engage with your partners, then engagement and morale will also be indicators. When it comes to measuring a partnership’s success – there are many indicators – the most important for our world, should be the positive and improved impact that you are helping to create!
One thing is for sure when it comes to cause-partnerships, the longer you invest, champion and meaningfully engage with the right partner, the better return you will have on your investment, experience and outcomes in every area of your business.