The power of framing – how to influence sceptical corporates
Do you find it difficult to help key companies want to build valuable partnerships with your charity? A major challenge for the ambitious corporate fundraiser is that even if you can get in front of the relevant decision-maker (eg Marketing Director rather than only CSR team), it can be surprisingly hard to help them see you as a partner that brings genuine commercial value. However much you say you are about partnership, the risk is that they usually still think you’re asking for a philanthropic hand-out or some employee fundraising.
The first step is to not be surprised if they do not ‘get’ it – most people have been conditioned to only think of ‘charities’ in one way – the philanthropic way.
The problem is unless you are unshakeably certain and able to be persuasive that your charity does help solve commercial challenges, their disbelief will win the day. They’ll thank you for the meeting but refer you to their CSR criteria or nod and say they’ll ‘get back to you’.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then one of the most powerful ways to improve your influencing results, as we practice on the Corporate Partnerships Mastery Programme, is to increase your certainty of the value you offer. Psychologically, you must become ‘The Prize’.
On the Programme, we also practice using social proof examples of other powerful partnerships, which helps them feel the value that partnership brings. But it’s hard to do justice to these unless you first make sure your confidence on the subject is rock solid. When your certainty is stronger than their uncertainty, you can help them start to see their opportunity.
If currently you struggle to convey with conviction why these partnerships work, Phil Barden’s excellent book Decoded, which explores the science of buying behaviour, can only help.
The frame affects how we perceive value
For example, he explains the concept of framing by presenting two squares, one centimetre by one centimetre. He informs us that objectively, the two squares are an identical tone of grey. But because one square is surrounded by a background frame of a dark grey and the other is framed by a background of a very light grey, in contrast our eyes subjectively cannot help but perceive the two central squares to be different tones. In this way he demonstrates that the way something is framed changes the way it is perceived.
He then shows us two more squares. In one is the Wild Bean Café logo and in the other is the Starbucks logo. Around the Wild Bean Café logo is a frame which has the meaning ‘coffee’ and around the Starbucks one is the frame which has the meaning ‘Short holiday’. Because Starbucks invests in imbuing its brand and customer experience as something of a treat, Barden neatly demonstrates why it is that some people happily pay twice as much for a cup of coffee in that shop.
What has this got to do with fundraising? Because if Starbucks are able to achieve these dramatically higher profit margins by ascribing a different meaning or frame compared to other companies, and a certain cola company is able to cause billions of people to link the meaning ‘happiness’ to their sugary carbonated drink, then unequivocally partnerships with charities can help change the way commercial brands are perceived.
One example is the very clever partnership between Ikea and Homes for Hope. Another is the long-standing partnership between Fairy and Make a Wish Foundation, which to date has raised over £1.35 million for the charity’s work. Obviously the partnership raises money for the charity, but it is helpful to get really clear on how the partnership is so valuable to the company. There are several tactical benefits, including achieving standout on the shelf, and increasing profit per bottle, as during the promotional month, Fairy will not need to offer a discount to encourage sales.
But at the heart of this, when you think about it, washing up liquid is just detergent. However well it cleans, the detergent itself contains no emotion. In this context, we can see why it makes such commercial sense for P and G to frame its Fairy bottles with an organisation that is associated with intense emotions like caring.
No wonder the partnership has been running for the last 12 years and shows no sign of slowing down.
There are currently only 6 places left for the Corporate Partnerships Programme 2016. To find out more click here.
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On December 7, 2015 / Uncategorized
‘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
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