I recently took part in a research interview exploring charity-corporate partnerships. This interview helped me distil into two words the approach we intrinsically have at Cam Sight in all of our corporate (and general) interactions.

Simply put: be nice.

I know this sounds too simple to be true, but it is consistently the feedback we receive from all of our corporate partners. We are regularly told that companies enjoy working with us because we are nice people who show up and appreciate what they do. This approach has helped us punch above our weight as a small local charity, and secure five ‘Charity of the Year’ partnerships in 2019 alone.

So what does this actually mean in practice?

Firstly, treat corporates like partners, not just vehicles to funding. Do not disappear the moment money is given. Understand what their needs are, what motivates them, and what they would like out of the partnership. The ‘fuzzy’ feeling of giving to charity is not necessarily the sole motivation for their donation.

Treat your partners like people, not faceless companies. Get to know the people at the company who look after charity partnerships. Build a relationship. Send them a personalised Christmas card. Not only will this help with building an ambassador for your cause within the company, but it will make day-to-day work that much enjoyable. It’s always nice to have a friend.

Give back to your corporate partners. Often with ‘Charity of the Year’ arrangements, staff work incredibly hard to fundraise throughout the year. Invite them to special events you are organising, such as fundraising dinners or concerts, in recognition of their efforts. It may mean a couple of less tickets sold, but given how much corporates can donate, it is well worth the cost.

Thank your corporate partners. Show them the impact of their support. While donations may be unrestricted and so not linked to a specific project, it’s important to show your corporate partners how they have contributed to the overall achievements of your charity. Do not wait until the end of the partnership to do this. Give small updates throughout, so people at the company feel appreciated and motivated to keep going.

Ultimately, I know the above sounds like common sense. It is. However, you would be surprised at how many companies have complained to me about former charity partners who have ignored the above. Who have given them collection tins for their offices, but never bothered to pick them up. Who have taken the cheque and never even sent a thank you letter. So charities, raise your game. And corporates, like in life, make sure you get the treatment you deserve and partner with someone nice.

Cam Sight is always available ;)