Sponsored Post by: Accelerist, a leader in social impact partnership technology, supporting hundreds of brands and charitable organizations in finding and growing their partnerships with each other.

With a heightened focus on building new partnerships, the importance of stewardship is often overlooked in corporate fundraising. Yet, the vast majority of your annual corporate revenue will come from partners that already know and love your mission and organization.

Corporations in today’s world don’t just want to support your mission once, they want to create long-lasting and tangible change alongside you for years to come. Stellar stewardship can deepen your relationship with your partners and help build trust in your area of expertise that in turn translates to positive funds for your mission.

We’ve borrowed basic business principles to help you steward your partners like a boss!

In business, customer retention is “big business.” High customer retention rates can help a company spend less on marketing, improve the overall lifetime value of a customer, and earn more referrals. The impact that partner (or any kind of donor) retention can have on a charitable organization should be no different.

According to the Harvard Business Review, increasing customer (or partner) retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.  Additionally, it’s 5 – 25x more expensive to acquire a new customer (or partner) than it is to retain an existing one.

1) Take A Look at Your Current State of Affairs

To identify your stewardship strategies, first, consider your current state of affairs. Good questions to ask your team:

  • What kinds of partners have we retained/lost over the last 3+ years?
  • Which assets are most of our partners leveraging and finding value in?
  • Which of our partners could support us in a deeper way?

During the discussion, use the following business principles  to assist in your evaluation:

  1. Churn Rate: Churn rate in its broadest sense is a measure of the number of customers moving out of a collective group over a period of time. Calculate your churn rate as Total # of Partner by Total Value of Partners.
  2. Product Usage: Simply put, customers and partners will renew if they witness value in your partnership. One way to demonstrate value is to ensure your partners are fully leveraging your assets. Map out your asset portfolio and determine how many of your partners are receiving the full value of what you can offer to their partnership.
  3. Net revenue potential: Take inventory of your existing partners. Identify those with one-note engagement and areas of opportunity to do more with your organization. Craft a customized stewardship strategy for these “Growth Partners” to generate a defined “net revenue” goal:

In addition, use this “Assets” Excel template to identify your assets for current and potential corporate sponsors and to formulate a comprehensive report for each partner:

2) Incorporate Best Practices

Next, consider these key stewardship best practices to level up your retention strategy:

  1. Onboarding & Goal-Setting: Host partner kick-off calls that include: 1) Goal-setting, 2) 30, 60 and 90-day+ expectations, 3) Measurement, communications and reporting plans.
  2. Partner Sufficiency: Support your partners’ ability to amplify the partnership with a toolkit including your brand guidelines, assets and pre-approved content.
  3. Communications Calendar: Create and automate an appropriate communications schedule that aligns with your organization’s marketing content and announcements for each partner stewardship category.
  4. Opportunities & Education:  The Top 10% of your partners donate 3x more than the rest. Create VIP opportunities and advisory boards to deepen relationships.
  5. Feedback & Action Loop: Deploy an annual corporate partner survey to understand their needs and requests from you, and what they find most valuable about partnering with your organization. Adjust strategy and offerings that demonstrate your understanding and action to build greater value-based partnerships.

3) Reporting Is Everything!

Perhaps one of the most important tactics of a stewardship strategy is reporting. If you’re not reporting to ALL of your partners the value they experienced in partnering with you – start doing so yesterday! Reporting doesn’t have to be extensive, just deliberate. Some partnerships will include different types of value than others, but it should all be measured and reported.

Value, for us, comes in four different forms:

  • Business value: the ability to impact a business goal of your partner’s.
  • Financial value: the ability to demonstrate a tangible return on their investment or a subsidized expense.
  • Constituent value: the ability to engage their consumers/employees and drive greater affinity/loyalty.
  • Societal value: the ability to explain how their support directly impacted your mission.

To assist your reporting to partners, use this “Asset Leverage” Excel template to define which assets are most and least valued or used by your corporate partner portfolio. Redefine your asset portfolio based on your findings.

In closing, Accelerist’s ROI platform eliminates the need to use Excel templates and enables your nonprofit to easily steward, track and create stewardship reports for your partners, such as:

Accelerist is the leader in social impact partnership technology, supporting hundreds of brands and charitable organizations in finding and growing their partnerships with each other. For more tools and resources about purpose-driven partnerships, please visit the Accelerist Insights page.

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