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Eager to Forge Partnerships with Corporates? Here’s What You Need to Know

Back in the mid 90’s – before Corporate Social Responsibility or Social Entrepreneurialism was even a thing – former spin doctor Hailey Cavill-Jaspers had an idea: what if we could bring corporates and non-profits together so that the company, charity and community benefit? Like all entrepreneurs, Hailey backed her idea, borrowed a computer, rented an office for a month and founded her company Cavill + Co. Now in its 27th year, her firm has built an impressive 50+ partnerships for companies such as Vodafone, Disney, Mondelez and SEEK, investing over 40 million dollars and valuable expertise into numerous and diverse causes. The partnerships she spawned have changed the face of volunteering, invested millions into medical research, reduced the toddler drowning rate, supported several mental health helplines and support services, rescued thousands of pets and trained numerous guide dogs.

In the mid 2000’s, Hailey saw the rise of the social enterprise movement, as well as demand from changemakers and charity professionals for upskilling in corporate partnerships, so Hailey developed a methodology for preparing for – and winning – corporate partnerships. In 2019 she founded a second company® with her Gen Z comrade, communications dynamo Georgia McIntosh, to teach this methodology to changemakers in an online format.

Considered a pioneer in matchmaking companies to charities, Hailey knows a thing or two about how to thrive in business (not just survive) and for her, finding the right partners – who align with your values as well as bring additional skills and audiences – is vital.

Running a social enterprise sure isn’t easy. A social entrepreneur must juggle the business end of things whilst ensuring societal impact is being made. Having a corporate partner in your corner can truly transform your organisation – by expanding its reach and messaging, injecting valuable expertise, investing untied cash as well as tied funds for programs and events, and much more.

If you would like to discover the 7 benefits of a corporate partnership, check out ‘Resources’ at the end, for a free infographic.

Winning a corporate partnership isn’t easy either! To be successful you have to talk to the right person, using the right language at the right time. Knowing the right person is vital, but it’s more important to know what ‘purse’ or budget they represent. Because the ‘purse’ will dictate what they want to get out of partnering with you, what you need to give them in return and how they will measure success. You must speak to them in their language – which of course is the language of business – but more than that. If they are head of People & Culture they’ll be looking for opportunities to engage and inspire their people, if they are a marketer they’ll want to have a conversation about differentiation, resonating with their customers and so on. And finally, timing. This is the one pitfall that too many changemakers fall into. You must be in front of potential partners when they are discussing their budget, which means at least 4 months before their financial year begins.

If you’d like to learn more about the four different purse holders within corporates and brands, check out ‘Resources’ at the end, for a free infographic.

Corporates and brands know that they must demonstrate a commitment to societal change, as pressure mounts from customers, employees and stakeholders. Global[1] and Australian[2] research shows that consumers want companies and brands to not only address their impact on society and the environment but be active agents of change. Three-quarters of Australian consumers agree it’s time Corporate Australia stepped up and showed leadership in solving social issues. Over three-quarters believe corporates should do this by partnering with charities. Over one quarter have actively switched brands because it supported a charity in the past year (a Covid year), and over half say they will change brands to support a charity in the upcoming year (2022).

Companies are acutely aware that if they do not show their human face, and demonstrate their commitment to the environment and society, they will rapidly become irrelevant and lose the goodwill of suppliers, customers, employees and shareholders. These statistics come from the 2021 Conscious Consumer Report, available to download in ‘Resources’.

So, it appears that corporates in Australia are ready to partner with purpose-led organisations, but are YOU ready? Willing a partner won’t win you a partner, but being ready will. There are two levels of readiness – organisational readiness and partner readiness. It’s vital to ensure that your organisation is ready to embrace a corporate partnerships strategy before investing time and money in learning the partner readiness steps.

To discover whether your organisation is organisationally ready, we encourage you to calculate your readiness score using a tool developed by Hailey from her 20+ years of working with countless non-profits & social enterprises keen to partner up – see ‘Resources’.

Having the right corporate partner means you can focus on doing more of what you do best – change the world. If you’re eager to find out more about the opportunities – and risks – of a corporate partnership, check out the® corporate partnerships Summit. With 30+ speakers and 16 sessions, it’s the most comprehensive immersive event on corporate partnerships this decade.


7 Benefits of a Corporate Partnership (infographic)

4 Purses (infographic)

Conscious Consumer Report 2021

Readiness Q&A

[1] Research from Dentsu 2021, PWC 2020, Mintel 2021, Globescan 2020, Accenture 2020, Dynata 2021 and Carat 2021
[2] The Conscious Consumer Report 2021
Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

  • Avatar

    Thank you, very informative article!

    September 17, 2022 at 2:47 am Reply
  • Avatar

    Thank you, very informative article!

    September 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm Reply

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