When reviewing and signing off on corporate partnerships it is important to ensure the organisation really understands the other organisation they are planning to work with, says Glinda Major, Relationships Manager, Children’s Cancer Institute.

    What should happen before the first date?

    Ensure the executive team have done the initial research. Think about how your NFP fits the corporation’s needs. If your values don’t align, it’s probably a waste of everyone’s time, says Major.

    Then, ensure the organisation is ready.

    "Develop a partnership strategy and policy outlining why you’re pursuing the investment and who you’re excluding," she says.

    What is the organisation's approach to managing the relationship?

    "When meetings, strategic growth and engagement occur easily and both partners are working together to build win-win solutions," says Major.

    "Ensure the team have developed as many touch points as possible in the corporation, so the partnership does not just rely on one person – you don’t want to be a ‘pet project’, it’s unsustainable."

    Any deal breakers?

    Be careful not to ‘sell’ off assets too cheaply, like naming rights, warns Major.

    "Before you sell exclusivity, make sure you’re getting enough money and include an end date as it comes at an opportunity cost and may limit you from working with other corporations in that industry.

    "Make sure the partnership is authentic, a corporate aligning their brand with yours won’t make them a good corporate citizen. Consumers know it’s just cosmetic and they won’t buy it, literally or metaphorically.

    "Guard your most valuable asset: the donor database. And ensure your partnership policy lists the industries you won’t partner with as the wrong partnership might pose a risk to your reputation," Major says.

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