After you successfully identify, pitch, and secure a corporate partner—which is no small task—you’re only halfway to the finish line. What comes next is just as important: now you need to set specific goals for the partnership, create a plan of attack, and get buy-in from their staff to fundraise.
One week before Giving Tuesday 2017, Classy kicked off a partnership with Days for Girls International. As a partner, we set the goal to raise $60,000 through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, designed a fundraising page, and began activating our staff to take part.
Throughout the entire partnership we held fast to Days for Girls’ mission and the end goal. Together, we would increase access to menstrual care and education for young women around the world.
Given the partnership’s success, we wanted to share some of our firsthand experiences partnering with Days for Girls. Below, we’ll explore the best practices that Days for Girls used to set us up for success and how you might apply them to your own organization.
First, it’s crucial you work with an internal champion from your corporate partner. This person acts as a liaison between your organization and their entire company to assist with items like campaign page creation, the dissemination of critical information, and internal buy-in.
It’s not your direct responsibility to select this champion. That’s something your partner will need to do themselves. However, it’s on you to let them know they need to pick a dedicated champion.
To ensure they choose the right champion, send over a list of qualities that tend to make for a good candidate. The best person for the role will likely be someone who:
- Grabs people’s attention
- Inspires creativity
- Brings positive energy to projects
- Chooses optimism
- Is driven to succeed
- Meets deadlines responsibly
- Infuses fun into whatever they do
Aside from locking down the right internal champion, there are other creative ways to prepare your partner for what’s to come. For example, you might visit your partner’s office and deliver a presentation to their staff.
Days for Girls used this tactic with Classy, and they came with a well-made video and polished slide deck. These materials clearly defined the campaign’s mission, story, goals, and the direct impact we would make.
They explained that the money we raise would help fund Days for Girls kits, which contain all the supplies women and girls need for their periods. From that point, the presentation shifted into a hands-on kit assembling session where we took the various elements and put them together into bags.
Days for Girls knows their mission intimately—you know your mission the same way. However, there are always going to be people who need extra explaining to truly connect with its importance. Sometimes it’s best to start from square one and walk people through the different aspects of your mission and how they can help step by step.
In this case, Days for Girls got really creative and gave us the opportunity to engage on multiple levels: listen to a presentation, see an impactful video, and assemble the kits with our own hands.
When you’re working with your corporate partner, give fundraisers an opportunity to connect with your mission both emotionally and physically like Days for Girls did with Classy. Anything that can make it more tangible will only increase their commitment to the cause.
It’s a good idea to work with your partner to determine certain incentives for their employees as well. Internally, they might offer prizes for hitting specific fundraising milestones, but you can choose to go above and beyond to offer a top-tier prize.
For example, Days for Girls worked with us to plan a trip to Uganda to deliver the menstruation kits and learn about the culture we would impact. To get the ball rolling, Days for Girls let us know how many people they could realistically take on the trip.
Internally, we spun that into a competitive race to see who would be first to claim a spot on the trip. The first eight people to raise $3,000 got to go to Uganda.
Normal incentives like gift cards and technology prizes are a great way to get many people fundraising. However, having something that’s inherently unique to the specific mission for the campaign, like this trip, can add a lot of fuel to the fire you’ve already lit.
You might not be able to sponsor a trip overseas for all your fundraisers, but you can still flex your creativity here in other ways. Maybe you offer your all-star fundraisers the option to:
- Join you and your staff for dinner
- Meet your beneficiaries face to face
- Attend an upcoming event, like a gala, for free
Putting It All Together
To further illustrate what constitutes a successful corporate partnership, we met with Classy fundraiser Davis Moten. He was able to raise $3,500 in only 24 hours and secured a spot to join Days for Girls in Uganda.
He shares his outreach strategy and how he drove donations to his campaign. When working with a corporate partner, share these ideas so they can empower their employees to succeed.
After his fundraising page was all set up, he went through his phone to send a “warm up” text to around 40 people. He sent a message to them the day before Giving Tuesday, which read:
“Hey, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Get ready to donate to my fundraising page tomorrow. The top 10 fundraisers get to go to Uganda, and there’s a prize for the person who raises the most on Giving Tuesday.”
When he sent the initial message, Davis didn’t include the link to the fundraising page. He wanted people to think about and get excited for the appeal and the idea of donating to his campaign page, instead of seeing a link and passing on the opportunity immediately.
On Giving Tuesday Davis went back to his list of 40 people and sent another message. This time, he included the link to his campaign alongside a simple message:
“Give until it hurts, or give what you can. If you can’t give, please share this campaign with your networks.”
He had also donated $250 to his own campaign page to accomplish a few goals:
- Demonstrate he was all in for the campaign
- Ramp up fundraising action early
- Set the bar for the donation amount he wanted to receive
After the initial rush of donations, Davis took a picture of himself holding up a “thank you” sign and added it to his page around noon:
“A thank you gesture doesn’t need to be grandiose all the time. The simple ones can carry you a long way.”
To ensure his momentum carried through to the end of the day, he sent a final message to his list later in the afternoon. Some people didn’t respond or donate immediately, so Davis finished his day by texting and calling directly to make a final ask.
When the day was done and his fundraising goal was met, Davis posted one final update to thank everyone who participated:
As you work with your newly found corporate partner, remember that the most effective relationships between nonprofits and corporations are both mutually advantageous and intentionally designed.
And if you want to make sure a peer-to-peer campaign you’re working on together goes off without a hitch, download our guide below.