In these uncertain times for charities (particularly given how difficult it is to obtain and maintain Grant levels) we are increasingly looking towards different avenues to build future relationships and one of these has seen a growing interest in developing business partnerships.
The world of CSR has been changing: The days of photographic opportunities with large cardboard cheques are becoming sepia images from long-forgotten days. It is now more common for companies to be looking for a charity partner, an organisation that typically can develop a relationship over a period of time with and with whom they share certain values. Nationally this can be seen in partnerships such as Topman and the Campaign Against Living Miserably with their attention grabbing L’eau de Chris campaign and examples such as Chelsea FC and Plan International.
Locally, a growing number of charities and community groups are working closely with local and national companies. Businesses themselves no longer see the good they can do in their communities simply in terms of the cash they can bring but additionally the skill, expertise, resource and time that can be provided.
However, developing these partnerships is not something that happens quickly and is something that as a sector, we can often struggle with in terms of time, money, resource and knowledge.
Following on from two successful workshops earlier this year which brought together charities and businesses to better understand each other’s needs, ways of working and the importance of relationship building in the CSR world, we learnt how difficult many charities struggle with understanding exactly what it is that we can offer a corporate or business partner as part of this relationship and how then to explain and sell this concept.
Jill McCulloch from Coach You who had been part of the second of these workshops offered to run a free course for charities to help find their way to Pitching through the CSR barrier.
The importance of understanding our own values and being able to explain and promote these stands at the forefront of how we can begin to overcome the CSR barrier. It is these, Jill explained, that can help attract and retain business partners, in addition to staff, trustees and supporters. What do we stand for and what is our passion? If we can help others to express our passion, they will become advocates. Taking a cue from Simon Sinek and the Power of Why, we discovered that it is the why we do what we do, that attracts people, not what we do.
Through various exercises we learnt and understood how to see businesses as one of many target audiences, identify what we are looking for in a business partnership and how to use this knowledge to recognise what we can clearly articulate to a partner.
Representatives from 15 organisations across Cambridgeshire attended the workshop at Westminster College, Cambridge on the 21st November 2019.
Our work around the CSR agenda continues as we believe working effectively with business partners is one sure way in which charities of all sizes can diversify their income portfolio in these challenging times. This workshop series forms part of our Think Different Approach, so watch out for future events via the Support Cambridgeshire Training Page.
Support Cambridgeshire would like to thank:
Rachel Briant of Get Synergised for organising the event. https://www.getsynergised.com/
Jill McCulloch for freely giving her time and knowledge to us https://coachyou.co.uk/
Westminster College for hosting this event. https://www.westminster.cam.ac.uk/events