While we know for certain that norms have shifted around remote work, paid family leave and work/life balance, what has changed for corporate partnerships and corporate social responsibility?
To answer that question, we tapped a few CSR experts from across the Denver Metro area to understand what they are looking for in corporate partnerships moving forward.
Here are our key takeaways from those discussions:
Companies are looking for nonprofit partners, not one-time sponsorships.
Instead of sponsorships of one-off events, more and more companies are looking to craft a long-term partnership that will result in employee engagement, logo visibility and connections for employees. Some companies view sponsorships as marketing, not CSR, so it is important to make the right ask to the right individual. It’s important to note that company giving priorities can shift over time, and you can expect partnerships to last 3-5 years at most.
Employee champions can be a good connection, but are not required to start a partnership.
While employee champions can facilitate an introduction and help their company’s CSR team understand the organization, points of contact and more, they are not necessary to begin the partnership. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be a good way for employee champions to donate resources, but making that connection with the CSR team for a longstanding partnership is key.
Offer many ways for companies to get involved with your nonprofit.
It’s helpful to have multiple ways for companies to get involved, from employee volunteering in-person or online to holding workshops that align with your nonprofit’s programming for the company (i.e. host a lunch ‘n learn for parents to find out more about why being active is important for girls’ development). One caveat is that customization is not always a good thing. Having a suite of options for ways to plug into your organization are easy ways to demon strate how a company and its employees can be involved.
Follow up to demonstrate a partnership’s impact.
It seems obvious, but many nonprofits do not follow up after a partnership to provide any sort of metrics on what a given investment resulted in. Showing the number of participants impacted, number of volunteer hours donated or another measure of success is a great way to follow up with a partner and thank them for their contributions. While this isn’t necessarily a “new” way of doing things, it is something that each individual we spoke with identified as an area to improve partnerships.
Thank you to our friends D. J. Close at DaVita, Kayla Garcia at Molson Coors, Erica McIntire at Bank of America and Lori Misenhimer at Alteryx for sharing your expertise with us!
Want to learn more about our work around CSR? Drop us a note here.