Learning from corporate partnership managers…

This is a guest post from Andy King at Remarkable Partnerships about how trust fundraisers can learn from Corporate Partnership Managers. 

Andy and I have swapped blogs this week!  Check out their blog to read my piece (on what Corporate Partnership Managers can learn from trust fundraisers!)


At Remarkable Partnerships, one of our core beliefs is that the whole organisation need to be involved in successful partnership-building.  Over time, we’ve been struck by the amount different colleagues can learn from each other, so we’ve teamed up with LarkOwl to share lessons across a silo.

Here are 5 things trust fundraisers can learn from corporate partnership managers:

  1. Focus

We often find the best corporate partnerships managers have only a short list of prospects at any one time, who they are truly focussed on moving forwards. Having a shorter list allows more time per prospect, which in turn increases the quality of the approach. The ‘spray and pray’ approach that can be tempting to both trust fundraisers and new business leads doesn’t serve anyone, and we’d advise a shorter list will often lead to a higher hit rate.

  1. Personal connection

Just as a company is not a company, but a collection of people, so too is a trust. Getting to know a key contact within a trust over a period of time will do huge amounts for the success of your application. At Remarkable Partnerships, we encourage people to think of gatekeepers as more than that – to see them as a door, that can be charmed into being open. They are an opportunity, rather than a problem to overcome.

  1. Get in front of your audience.

It is much easier to influence someone face to face than it is over the phone. It is much easier to influence someone over the phone than in an email. We know that when speaking to another person, 55% of what we take away from it is body language and 38% is tone (as outlined by Albert Mehrabian) – meaning when you make a cold application you are leaving 93% of value on the table. We have seen charities run events specifically for a trust audience with great success – because even a RSVP saying no from a trust is an excuse to offer a coffee meeting instead.

  1. Start with why

When making applications or initial contact, it is all too easy to get bogged down in the impressive impact or cost efficiency of our programmes. We need to remember that people buy for emotional reasons, which they then justify with logic (as Simon Sinek points out in his incredible TED Talk ‘start with why’) – which means we need to sell in that order. Fitting an emotional case study into tight word counts can be tough but is always worth it.

  1. Patience

Finally, one of the conversations we find ourselves most often having with Caroline is the evil of short-termism and the concept of ‘quick wins’ – and believe as a sector we can be stronger than this. Google share a concept called ‘7-4-11’ of turning a prospect to a partner – which is making sure a prospect has spent 7 hours of dwell time encountering your work across 4 different platforms over 11 different touch points – at which point they are ready for an ask. We all need to be bold and stick to our 7-4-11 checklist rather than applying before they are ready out of budget pressure.


Remarkable Partnerships are a charity-company consultancy that help you deliver partnerships that deliver your purpose with greater certainty and increased speed.

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Posted in Fundraising.