South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Blog: Three ways museums can partner up on corporate fundraising

Corporate sponsorship can be a tricky nut to crack. Not because businesses are unwilling to sponsor the heritage and arts sectors, but because charities often forget that businesses are looking for investment, or they don’t realise what they have to offer. You need to offer a business opportunity – a good one. That means identifying what opportunities your assets can provide for businesses. Partnership approaches between museums, arts organisations or other relevant non-profits can strengthen sponsorship proposals to a business because you can combine what you can offer.

Here are three ways you could strengthen your corporate fundraising by working in partnership with another organisation:

1. Double your contacts

Successful corporate sponsorship involves lots of networking, relationship building, and having a healthy book of contacts. This area is extremely time consuming – many fundraising departments have someone (or a whole team) solely working on corporate sponsorship for that reason. By working in partnership with another organisation, you can share contacts and have pre-built relationships brought to the table. Additionally, you will have increased capacity to manage those contacts and any sponsors you gain.

2. Undertake a joint asset audit

By assets, I mean anything your organisation has that could provide a business opportunity for a sponsor or corporate member – this could be an emailing list, a room to hire, or a space for some text in a brochure. The first stage of building any proposal to a corporate should be to compile a list of all your assets, finding out what business opportunities each asset provides, and giving those opportunities as monetary value. A partnership approach enables you to increase those assets, business opportunities, and that monetary value. By feeding that into a joint corporate sponsorship proposal, or even a joint corporate membership scheme, you will be able to design packages that appeal to a greater number of businesses.

3. Increase your digital audience

Many corporates will be interested in your emailing lists, social media reach, and website traffic. This is because they are easy ways for them to get their brand, promotion, or advert out there. By working in partnership with another organisation to obtain sponsorship, you can vastly increase those stats. These can be sent in your first proposal to a corporate prospect. They will know that you mean business, and could be swayed by the number of people that could see their messaging.

Do you want to learn more about partnership working, or share experiences and tips with others? Book your place for the SWFed Conference, which is about Partnerships in Practice. It takes place on 5 & 6 July at the University of Exeter. You can read more and buy tickets by clicking here.

Eventbrite - SWFed 2017 Conference & AGM: Partnerships in Practise

This blog post was written by Matt Ashdown. Matt has a PGCert in Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy and was one of four people in the South West selected for the £2million ACE funded Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Fellowship. He has attended National Arts Fundraising School and has worked with a number of arts and heritage organisations in the South West as a fundraising consultant. He is a consultant Development Officer for SWFed.