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Published on April 17th, 2013 | by Priti Ambani

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5 Ways Social Enterprises Can Better Engage Corporations

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How are large private sector companies supporting social enterprises? Are there enough collaborations where well-meaning corporations can form strategic partnerships with social enterprises to further a good cause.

This is a complex relationship where corporations are looking for partners and social enterprises are looking for support. But why don’t we see more partnerships forging environmental and social betterment? What are some of the factors that are preventing large-scale corporations from finding these partners and not simply donate to charity?

You could say it all comes down to how social enterprises market themselves and it does become an important reason when corporations are looking for an appropriate match. Here are some ways social entrepreneurs can get better at corporate partnerships:

Identify Key Corporations / Organizations

One key way for social enterprises to get more traction is to collaborate with strategic businesses. This process begins with identifying conscious companies serving the same market or working towards a similar goal. Social enterprises can also extend this methodology to various relevant groups and associations.

Seek Common Goals (or a lack of structured goals)

A great way to pitch to these potential companies is to identify common goals or even a lack of structured Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) programs.  This helps corporations see value in partnerships and help them integrate programs into their organizational DNA.

Customized Engagement Plan

Most companies and corporations would like to see a strategic plan to see how supporting social enterprises can help validate their social giving programs. Clear goals and relevance to long-term social impact and sustainability helps these programs gain traction with stakeholders. Taking time to complete this effort helps both social enterprises as well corporates expand their vision and see the whole picture.

Pilot Programs

Offering pilot programs before a full-scale collaboration is a way for both parties to gain trust, test feasibility and impact of any program. Small scale engagements also help social enterprises test market response and tweak their workings to gain maximum impact for the community they are working with. They also provide validity for larger scale projects.

Transparency 

Social enterprises offering transparent and prompt reporting are seen as trustworthy for long-term partnerships. Collaborations will be an easier sell to upper management and will help build a better profile for the organization. So a social enterprise’s demonstrated commitment to transparency will become a cornerstone for continued operations.

How can social enterprises sell better to corporations? Share your thoughts via a comment.

Hands connecting image via Shutterstock



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About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+



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