Bright Spot Fundraising

Tried and tested fundraising techniques
that help you raise more money.

How to secure meetings with Dream Partner Companies

dreamstime_s_61735235 (1)A major challenge for corporate fundraisers is how on earth do you start to build a relationship with a company that would be a great strategic fit, but where you don’t currently know anyone, (and which is reluctant to talk to you on the phone or answer your emails).


So how do you secure meetings with key companies from scratch?


The Corporate Partnerships Mastery Programme includes strategies to solve this and dozens of other challenges that corporate fundraisers face. On the last programme I shared four tried and tested strategies for securing meetings with key companies. Here is one – The Ambassador Strategy.


This is something that Hannah Glasgow from Parkinsons UK, who attended the Mastery Programme in 2015, has used to excellent effect.


Option 1 – Create an ambassadors group.


Because she didn’t have enough contacts at key companies, she set about creating a volunteer group of senior business-people who had already helped Parkinson’s UK, for example as major donors, participants on events or from previous corporate partnerships. She did this by explaining the purpose of the new group – the London Business Network – to her colleagues, and seeking their advice on which existing supporters would be able to bring value to a voluntary business group to assist fundraising.


Two senior business people, both of whom cared deeply about the mission of Parkinson’s UK, chaired the new group and signed invitations to around 50 names the internal discussions had generated.


At the first meeting which was attended by 20 interested individuals, brief presentations about the charity’s and Business Development team plans were put forward. Around 12 well-connected business people then agreed to meet regularly to find ways to help Parkinson’s UK’s fundraising. A key element of this was in opening doors to key companies on the Dream Partner List.


  • In around six months, the group has facilitated meaningful introductions (eg at least first meetings), through their contacts, to 6 of the 20 companies on Hannah’s list, and many of these relationships are progressing well.
  • One of the companies, a law firm, has offered pro bono support which will be worth around £150,000.
  • They have also helped the charities’ fundraising in other ways, for example leveraging their contacts to create innovative materials, which will be worth in excess of £40,000.


There are several reasons why The Ambassador Strategy works, including the power of the group to keep people motivated. But most importantly, this strategy works because powerful CEOs and Directors are able to pick up the phone and influence other senior business executives (at companies on your Dream Partner List), in a way that is very difficult for most fundraising staff to do.


So what can you do if you like this idea in principle but fear the extra level of work involved in managing a business group?


Option 2 – Appoint individual ambassadors.


At its simplest, as corporate fundraising expert Jonathan Andrews pointed out when I interviewed him last year, you could call up just three of your existing warm well-connected supporters. Ask them to meet you for coffee to give you some advice.


Over coffee, explore whether they would like to become ambassadors to your charity, which would mean meeting you eg once a quarter to help you find introductions to companies on your Dream Partner List. Be prepared to steward these people with plenty of feedback and attention, as appropriate, but in return you create a system that helps you create the valuable partnerships you really want.


  • To find out more about any of my tried and tested in-house courses or open Mastery Programmes click here.
  • If you found this blog helpful, who else could you help by sharing it?

On January 5, 2016 / Uncategorized

Client Testimonials 
‘What I love about the Major Gifts Mastery Programme is it’s so practical. I’ve seen loads of monetary value come from what we learned, including a gift of £200,000 from a trust that came about because of the learnings in the course. If you want to raise more money, I’d urge you to do the Programme.’

Paul McKenzie, Head of Major Giving and Corporate Partnerships, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Rob's outstanding pitch training helped me secure a partnership worth £380,000 over three years. One of the crucial things he helped me do was to better understand the psychology of who I needed to convince, and use this to craft my influencing strategies, structure and stories to help them say YES. If you need to win more partnerships, I would absolutely recommend you get on Rob's training.

Karen Arkell, Senior Officer, Corporate Partnerships, Teach First

'We recently had a pitch we just had to win. I'm absolutely clear that what we learned from Rob helped us get the deal, which is a partnership that's going to raise £1 million. Rob is better at helping you influence your donor to get the gift than anyone I've met.

Ben Swart, Head of Corporate New Business, NSPCC

Rob's exceptional training has taken our programme to the next level. One example was a colleague re-connecting with a lapsed donor on the phone, resulting in a £100k+ gift; his first in four years. I would absolutely recommend Rob's training programme as an invaluable investment for any fundraising team.

Victoria Stephenson, Head of Major Donors, UNICEF UK

Following the course, Major Gift Fundraisers at the NSPCC increased gift income by 29%

Citation by UK Skills National Training Award

We're currently involved in our largest ever Campaign, with a target of £500 million, so we've invested in the best training available. Rob's courses have been an essential part of our annual King's Knowledge learning programme for the last five years, because he continues to help us get outstanding results.

Gemma Peters, Director of Development, King's College London

I’ve found the Corporate Partnerships Mastery Programme hugely helpful already. It’s helped me in so many ways, but as an example, I applied one of Rob’s pitching techniques and it completely wowed the panel, and has resulted in a partnership worth over £100,000.

Kieran Cornwall, Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager, Cystic Fibrosis Trust

I was on the pitch team to win a partnership worth £1,000,000. I was determined to pitch to the best of my ability. Rob helped me present with confidence, persuasiveness and enthusiasm, enabling me to connect with the pitch panel – and we won the partnership.

Kirsty Lawson, Corporate Account Team Manager, (Head of) at Alzheimer’s Society

Rob showed my corporate fundraising team lots of excellent new business strategies. The techniques made a made a MASSIVE difference to our financial results, including helping to win a partnership worth £2 million

Jess Coombs, Head of Corporate Fundraising, Teenage Cancer Trust and formerly at Action for Children