Taking your first steps to working with companies can be a daunting experience. Here are our top tips on how to make it easier.
- Before you even think about what kind of company would be good for you, you need to be clear about what you want. Take some time to define your goals.
- When you know what you want to achieve as an organisation, break it down into manageable chunks.
- Then, think about how companies could help you achieve each of these small goals.
Why not make use of our new, simple way of categorising what you need?
People – volunteers to help you with unskilled tasks
Expertise – volunteers to help you with their professional skills
Fundraising – individuals or groups of individuals to raise money
Money – finances from a company – a donation, sponsorship, or cause-related marketing
Things – donations of products like laptops, office furniture, or gardening equipment
Other – anything else, including apprenticeships for beneficiaries, or use of event space
- Now you understand what you want from companies, do some research. Look at similar charities. What successes have they had with companies? What type of company are they approaching? Are there any great examples to inspire you?
- Using the information you have compiled, think about what kind of company would be best for each goal. Where should they be? How many employees should they have? What industry sector should they be operating in?
- At this point, you also need to consider what benefits the company would get from working with you. Why would they want to support you? Does your cause or the project they would be working on align with their customers, or the locations in which they operate? Could you help them unlock a new market? Could it improve their reputation? Could their employees develop new skills by taking part in the project?
- Once you know these answers, get on Google and start creating a shortlist. LinkedIn is great to get an idea of size and industry sector. Twitter and Facebook are often places where companies show off the good they already do. Also, check their website to see if they are already working with charities and, if so, the nature of these relationships.
- You can then use LinkedIn again to find a specific individual to contact. This could be someone in charge of CSR, HR, Marketing, Sustainability, or even the MD – use your judgement.
Why not ask us for advice? We do this all the time and would love to help. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed.
- REACH OUT
- Using a combination of tools, you should be able to work out the direct email of the person you want to contact.
- Spend some time writing a great first email.
- Make sure to:
– be specific – be clear about what you are asking for
– make it customised – include details about their company and their approach to doing good
– be flattering – let them know you’re impressed by their work and their relationships with charities
– include a clear call to action – you could ask them if they are free for a chat on a certain day.
- If they don’t reply, don’t be afraid to follow up a couple of times.
- It’s also worth trying a cold call. Prepare first so you know what your key messages are, and ask for the person you want to reach by name.
Why not take the stress out and let us introduce you to potential partners? All you need to do is schedule a call with Rose, explain your needs, and she’ll approach on your behalf.