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Prospect Like a Boss: Partnership Strategy Tips for Nonprofits

Prospect Like a Boss: Partnership Strategy Tips for Nonprofits

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As we welcome in the new year, we know strategic planning is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Accordingly, Accelerist has created a four-part series to help you analyze and elevate your partnership strategy in 2021. 

In this first installment, we’re focusing on prospecting by sharing insights into the most popular questions we’ve received from nonprofits about prospecting corporate partnerships (and those that we wish you would’ve asked)!

3 Most Popular Questions:

Q:  With high turnover, how do I find the right decision-makers right now?
A:  We recommend you look for decision-makers within the HR, Marketing, and Social Responsibility areas of a company. Also, try to invite multiple contacts across these departments to join the conversation (in case one rep is laid off or leaves).  

Q:  How do I know if companies are a right-fit right now?
A:  Stay attuned to continued store closures, bankruptcy filings, and major layoffs, which typically indicate industries or brands that are not a right-fit right now. Instead, look for brands that are announcing new products, store openings, or new hires. 

Q:  How do I prioritize my most urgent needs with prospects?
A:  Consider filling in this ‘Mad Lib’: “Given that [insert social need stat] is happening right now, you might be wondering how to [insert impact possibility on community].  As an organization that [mission of the organization], [organization name] is solving a part of this challenge by [impact statement].  Other partners like [partner name] are joining us to [opportunity].  Would you like to get involved?”

3 Questions You Should Be Asking:

Q:  What is our total addressable market (TAM)?
In partnership terms, this could mean the total amount of money or prospects that want to donate to your mission, your opportunity, or both. 
A:  Once you’ve identified which companies give to your cause and like to invest in the types of opportunities you have to offer, refine even further by considering your “Ideal Partner Profile” (IPP).  To do this, analyze:

  • Past wins/losses & pinpoint trends in motivations
  • Which companies in this TAM do we share values with?
  • Giving trends and behaviors of each prospect

Q:  How can you increase pitch-to-close conversions?
A:  For us, it’s a 1. 2. 3. Punch:

  1. Define more qualified leads: Establish right-fit, right-decision-maker, and the right time to engage.
  2. Quick & easy outreach: Keep your initial outreach simple and quick.  
  3. Distribute unique content, like blogs and reports, that establishes you as an expert.

Once you have your leads, content, and process, don’t forget to track and analyze your results. Check out our Prospect Like A Boss Playbook for more details. 

Q:  How can we re-introduce our mission to lost prospects?
A: Curate a list of lost prospects over the past 24 months. Then, deploy a “win-back” email campaign that looks something like this:

1st week – Checking In, Mission Story & Impact Updates, Call to Action = Catch Up Chat

2nd week – Case Study, Report or Executive letter, Call to Action = invitation to Get-to-Know Your Org Webinar

3rd week – Webinar reminder, Thank You video, Call to Action = Become a Partner Today


Guest contributions represent the personal opinions and insights of the authors and may not reflect the views or opinions of Imagine Canada.

Accelerist is the leader in social impact partnership technology. For more tools and resources about purpose-driven partnerships, please visit the Accelerist Insights page

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