In August 2020, End Youth Homelessness (EYH) achieved what may sound near impossible in the current climate and secured a new corporate partnership with The Body Shop. Corporate partnerships are one of the main ways in which EYH, a nationwide movement made up of 11 regional charity members, raises funds, and less than two months into the partnership they launched a joint virtual event called Sleep Out.
We initially became aware of the new partnership when EYH chose to work with JustGiving’s Digital Services team to launch a one-stop-shop virtual event microsite, fully designed to showcase the brand and tone of both EYH and The Body Shop. Now that the event has passed (it took place on 20th November last year), we thought it was a great time to ask Abbie Murphy, Development Manager at EYH, to share her advice and experiences of corporate partnership fundraising.
It’s still possible to find new corporate partners during COVID-19
We’ve found securing new business to be tough since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the sectors that have been hit hardest. But by and large, people still want to give. We’re living in a time where it’s difficult to get out and do much practical ‘good’, so we’ve found there’s a real appetite for ways to make a difference from home, and supporting businesses with their staff engagement is a huge part of this.
Be clear about what each side is bringing to the table
It’s important to find a partner that’s a good strategic fit and that both sides are clear about what they’re bringing to the relationship. When working with The Body Shop, we were there as fundraisers, providing our knowledge and expertise on how to organise mass participation events. On the other side, The Body Shop is a brand all about activism and they know exactly what their staff and customers like. They helped us think not only about how to deliver an event, but how to inspire people to take action and make change. Whilst EYH were the ‘experts’ when it came to fundraising and events, The Body Shop opened so many doors for us outside of this – helping us secure the support of Channel 4 and producing our advert, Unseen Kingdoms. They also supported heavily with influencers and social/PR coverage. Essentially, we were able to deliver the event for them, but they used their voice to significantly raise the profile.
Be willing to listen and adapt
It’s really important to understand the partner that you’re working with. Your team can get together to brainstorm and come up with events that you think will work, but if you’re not willing to adapt the idea to the people that you’re partnering with then you’re creating a huge blocker. Yes, we went to The Body Shop and told them the virtual event that we wanted to do, but we needed their input as they know their audience best. Don’t be so confident that you forget to listen to your partners.
Don’t get stuck in your ways
It’s easy to become wedded to using the same communication channels for every campaign. The Body Shop has such a diverse range of employee roles, from those working in head office, to The Body Shop At Home consultants and those working in the store – and they wanted to engage all of them in Sleep Out. This taught us a lot about communication, and we tested new ways of interacting, including Instagram Lives and Q&As on Twitter, which saw a great response. Different groups of people responded to different channels, so we learnt that keeping communications varied is something we need to do for all of our events.
Invest in virtual fundraising
There has been a lot of challenges in the last year and if you want to reach more people you have to accept that a lot has now moved online. I know budget is hard to come by, and I know that because we’re a small team and we don’t have a lot of it ourselves, but you have to weigh up putting budget into virtual fundraising as an investment. We just would not have been able to deliver something on this scale had we not had the JustGiving Digital Services team, The Body Shop employs thousands of staff and in the end we had over 2,000 people register to take part, raising over £310,000, we simply wouldn’t have been able to manage without investing in the microsite.
Thank you to Abbie and End Youth Homelessness for chatting with us and sharing helpful corporate partnership tips. If you’re interested in launching a virtual event, then JustGiving has lots of tools and resources for your charity to use. Find out more about how we can help with your next virtual event.
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