Get Started With Corporate Partnerships: Tips and Webinar

For the past two years, AIM has been working closely with the Heritage Alliance and the Institute of Fundraising on their joint Giving to Heritage  programme which offers discounted training in various fundraising topics for the heritage sector. The programme also provides free webinars and AIM was invited to take part in one about how museums and heritage sites can start working with Corporate Partners.

If you have never worked with corporate partners before, it can be difficult to know where to start, so the webinar focused on how museums can take the first steps to working with private businesses. The webinar is now available on YouTube, but we have listed some top tips below too. AIM also has a series of Success Guides that can help you with fundraising, business planning and risk management. If you are an AIM member and have any questions about working with corporate partners, please email

Some tips for getting started with corporate partnerships

Face the fear and do it anyway!

* Never approached corporate organisations to work in partnership before? It’s natural to feel anxious. Make sure you have given time to talk about working with corporate partners at staff and volunteer meetings as well as in board meetings.

* Use the team’s individual skills and talents: Working with corporate partners is not the responsibility of just one person; it has to be embedded into an organisations whole way of working for it to be successful and accepted. By using everyone’s skills and talents the members of your team are far more likely to buy into this new way of working if you are including and celebrating them.

* What skills do you have in-house?  If you have never carried out a skills audit at your museum – now might be a great time to do one. Ask everyone: your board, your Director your admin staff, volunteers and work placement trainees what they think they could offer.

* List potential partners: Get everyone involved in making a list of possible corporate partners – everyone knows someone! Corporate partners don’t have to be global brands – they can be local businesses too.

* Research: look at other museums and heritage organisations that have already used corporate partnerships – ask them for advice and examples of best practice.

What’s your story?

*Sell yourself: Like any great relationship, working with corporate partners isn’t just about them supporting you – you also have to sell yourself a bit to be an attractive proposition. What makes you interesting, unique and special….what makes you stand out from other museums and why should a corporate partner choose you?

* USP: what are your Unique Selling Points? Create a basic SWOT analysis to determine what makes you stand out from the crowd and to help you match your museum against similar private businesses.

*Why do you need support? If you are going to approach corporate partners or indeed – carry out any fundraising – you need to show the reasons for supporting you and make those reasons compelling. The AIDA marketing model shows you how to do this well – more information on this is in the  webinar.

* What are you doing differently? Chances are you will be far more than ‘just’ a museum – what other services do you offer that make you an attractive proposition and are you revealing this to potential corporate partners?

doing differently

What are you doing differently at your museum? (Image: courtesy of Torfaen Museum Trust)

Making the ask isn’t always about cash

* You can approach corporate partners to ask for their support in different ways; sometimes, you will also find that they can help in many ways too. They can support you by:

Lending their time:  Many corporates have staff community days to help their teams connect with local communities. You can ask corporate partners if they would consider supporting you by volunteering at your museum. This extra help can be used as match funding, for promotional purposes and to assist your museum during busy periods.

Donating Items: Can corporates donate items to you to save you money or offer you raffle prizes?

Lending Experience: Ask partners to lend their experience to help your overall operations, business planning or for specific projects.

Sharing Networks: Sometimes, support from Corporate Partners can simply be help with promoting your museum events and collections to their own networks of customers and suppliers.

Marketing to attract corporate partners

*Get out of your sector: there is a tendency for museums and heritage sites to only network with similar organisations.  Have the confidence to network and mingle and you might be surprised at who you can work with.

*Attend local business networking meetings: most areas have these set up to support businesses. A good place to start is by contacting Business in the Community – a charity that helps create links between charities and the corporate sector.

*Find the best fit: make sure any corporate partners match your own ethics and objectives. Things can go wrong when expectations differ!

*Promote the need for support: use local papers; local and national media and join business networks to let the corporate community know you are there

*Say THANK YOU! We forget to publically thank corporate partners and thanking those we currently work with will gain the attention of new ones!

Thank you to: Giving to Heritage, Jo O’Sullivan, Torfaen Museum Trust and Ken Clark

Giving to Heritage – September Training Events

Giving to Heritage is a HLF funded scheme providing fundraising training for those in the heritage sector. The programme draws on the expertise and knowledge of the two project partners; The Heritage Alliance and the Institute of Fundraising.

Each workshop place costs just £20 per place, and the workshops run from 10.00 to 16.30. There are a maximum of 15 places available on each workshop.


September Training Opportunities

16 Sept: Major Donor Fundraising for Heritage Organisations – Dronfield, Derbyshire

Having even a few committed major donors onside can make a significant impact on your heritage organisation’s income, but finding the right ones, and bringing them on board, can be a daunting and nerve-wracking task. The workshop is intended to provide an overview of major donor fundraising and provide participants with the tools to start a major donor programme in their heritage organisation

Cost: £20

Booking and further information: Major Donor Fundraising for Heritage Organisations – Dronfield

17 Sept: Measuring and Communicating the Impact of Heritage Organisations for Funders – Museum of Royal Worcester, West Midlands

Recent research into funder motivations reveals that the heritage sector needs to do more to measure and report community impact to compete with other sectors. Heritage projects can be seen as less attractive to donors than those that are more able to clearly demonstrate social impact. Spend the day exploring the methods and benefits of impact reporting for fundraising using the NEF Proving and Improving toolkit and Charity Evaluation Service (CES) resources. Identify appropriate methods and tools relevant for measuring heritage impact for each delegate and develop ways to communicate impact to a range of heritage donors.

Cost: £20

Booking and further information: Measuring and Communicating the Impact of Heritage Organisations for Funders

21 Sept: Corporate Partnerships for Heritage Organisations – Derby

This one day workshop is designed to help fundraisers understand the range of opportunities for charities to raise money through working with companies and the ‘best practice’ ways in which to identify, approach and engage with corporate partners

Cost: £20

Booking and further information: Corporate Partnerships for Heritage Organisations

Giving to Heritage also offers:

13 different workshops,

1:1 Support and Consultancy Session,

Heritage Helpline inbox for ad-hoc requests,

A series of 30 webinars

Workshops = £20

1:1’s= Free

Heritage Helpline= Free

Webinars= Free

For further information, please contact Mark Webb at Giving to Heritage:

Spruce Up Your Skills With Giving To Heritage

Spring is the time of fresh starts and new opportunities, so if you are looking to increase your skills to help you and your museum, the new schedule of training events from Giving to Heritage is an excellent resource.

With all workshops costing just £20 per head, you can choose from a variety of topics including: Event Fundraising, Legacy Fundraising, Corporate Partnerships and Digital Fundraising.


Fun, informal – and informative! Giving to Heritage Workshops

Workshops on 13 topics are available across the UK and 24 new workshops in 9 regions are now available to book between April and July 2015.

If you are solely in charge of fundraising for your organisation – or even if you are part of a larger fundraising team – the new schedule of Giving to Heritage training and workshops from The Heritage Alliance will enhance your skills and give you the confidence you need to conquer your fundraising objectives.

To see the full range of workshops, please visit

Giving to Heritage Training Schedule

Or download the at a glance schedule here:

Giving to Heritage Schedule

Catalyst: Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy (Hampshire Solent Region)

Applications are closing soon for museums in the Hampshire Solent region to join cohort 2 of the Heritage Lottery Funded Catalyst project ‘Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy’.

Museums will develop fundraising skills through training, mentoring, practical activities, peer support and shadowing opportunities. They will also learn how to build relationships with the philanthropic community and understand how to raise the profile of the museum and showcase the heritage product.

The project aims to create a culture of philanthropy and inspire a real step change for both the museums and the philanthropic community in the area by supporting up to 30 museums over three years.

We are also seeking mentors who will work with the museums involved in the project by providing on-going support throughout the training programme. Mentors will not be paid but will be given training and career development opportunities to develop skills and build new connections.

To find out further information on both of these opportunities, contact Romilly Beard, Project Director on (01962 826701)

Or email: or visit ‘Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy’.

 *Content for this blog post was sourced via  press release from the Hampshire Cultural Trust


Giving to Heritage

Sometimes we all need a bit of help to get ahead, so when it comes to Fundraising for your museum or heritage organisation, having support and guidance from Fundraising professionals can prove extremely worthwhile.

Knowing how to spot opportunities to diversify your income, cultivating a wide donor base and understanding how to create strong fundraising strategies will help to improve your organisations resilience now and in the future.

If you are solely in charge of fundraising for your organisation – or even if you are part of a larger fundraising team – the new schedule of Giving to Heritage training and workshops from The Heritage Alliance will enhance your skills and give you the confidence you need to conquer your fundraising objectives.


“The Giving to Heritage fundraising training programme is designed to help museums and other heritage organisations develop skills in areas of fundraising with which they may not be familiar,” explained Mark Webb, Giving to Heritage Project Officer.

“While the aim is to foster generic fundraising skills, the workshops are designed to be as heritage orientated as possible, including the use of heritage and museum case studies. The workshops are led by an experienced Institute of Fundraising trainer and are supported by an expert in heritage fundraising – often from a museum.”

The Giving to Heritage training covers a wide range of fundraising topics including ‘Major Donor Fundraising’ and ‘Using Digital and Social Media’. There are also opportunities for bespoke training through 1 to 1 consultancy sessions and a mentoring scheme for a selected number of heritage projects.


So far, the programme has attracted participants from national, regional and local museums who have all benefitted from the training and its associated networking opportunities and the feedback from attendees has been very positive with some recent feedback including:

“The seminar was both informative and well-presented and encouraged a high level of delegate participation – which always helps to keep you awake and on your toes at such events! Highly recommended.”

“I found this workshop to be highly relevant, well-presented, with very comprehensive supporting documentation. A good mix of delegates also provided some helpful networking opportunities”

“I would highly recommend this course. I have been a fundraiser for 20 years but it was refreshing to benefit from a seasoned trainer who could reach out to learners on any level.”


So what sets the Giving to Heritage workshops apart from other fundraising training available and why are they worth attending?

“The training workshops are primarily aimed at those who have little or no experience in the types of fundraising covered by the workshops,” said Clare Keates, Heritage Project Manager at the Institute of Fundraising.

“Whether you need to learn a new skill or boost an existing one, there’s a workshop in the most important fundraising disciplines. The GTH training has been rigorously developed, is regularly updated and delivered by top quality sector experts who understand the current fundraising climate and the challenges you face.”


Full information about the current workshops can be found here: GTH Workshops

Follow Giving to Heritage on Twitter: @Givingtoheritag

IoF Website: Institute of Fundraising

Images kindly provided by Giving to Heritage

Giving to Heritage is looking for Fundraising Mentors

Giving to Heritage, run by the Heritage Alliance and the Institute of Fundraising, has been providing high quality, low cost training in all areas of fundraising since May 2014. They are now looking to add to this support for museums and heritage organisations through a fundraising mentoring programme. If you have at least two years of fundraising experience and the time to share it with other organisations, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Previous mentors have said:

“I thought that the IOF Mentoring scheme would be all about me ‘giving back.’ Wrong! The course proved that you can still teach an old(ish) dog new tricks, and the opportunities for networking with specialists from other areas of fundraising were priceless.”

“The training was excellent and I’ve used it in my day job, to help my team develop and it’s been helpful for 1:1s too.”

The scheme offers:

  • an opportunity to share your fundraising knowledge and skills to help another fundraiser
  • a free day of training in mentoring skills, that you can use in your day-to-day work as well as on the mentoring scheme
  • great for your career development, the experience can enhance your management and team building skills
  • support, collaboration, skill sharing and access to new networks through the mentoring group

The closing date for applications has been extended to 26th October.

If you would like to find out more go to to download the form, follow the instructions and submit. Email Amy – to return application forms, or if you need more information.

Giving to Heritage looking for fundraising mentors and mentees

Giving to Heritage is an HLF catalyst funded programme in England to support heritage organisations with their fundraising. There is information about similar programmes in Wales or Scotland.

In England, Giving To Heritage are looking for fundraising mentors and mentees for a free programme. Training is provided. You can download a mentor/mentee application form. The deadline for all applications is 13thOctober 2014.

They also have a few more spaces on 1:1 support and consultancy sessions lasting one hour. The aim of the sessions is to assist people at all levels of heritage fundraising through support and guidance from a fundraising expert.

  • Talk through any issues or development areas
  • Put your training theory if you have previously attended a workshop
  • Discuss a particular fundraising challenge you might be facing
  • Review your materials* and receive feedback

*materials for review, need to be submitted in advance

To book a session, contact

Giving to Heritage Workshops

Workshops are available around England throughout the Autumn. Topics include

  • Developing a Heritage Fundraising Plan,
  • Making the Heritage Case to Donors,
  • Major Donor Fundraising for Heritage Organisations,
  • Community Fundraising for Heritage Organisations,
  • Corporate Partnerships for Heritage Organisations
  • Securing Support for your Heritage Project from Grant-Making Trusts & Foundations

Creating a Heritage Fundraising Plan

I’m just back from the first Giving to Heritage training day. It’s been really useful and I now know all about how to create a fundraising plan!  We’ve captured some of what we learnt on Storify.

Giving to Heritage is a joint project between the Heritage Alliance and Institute of Fundraising to bring really high quality fundraising training to small and medium size heritage organisations, at a cost of only £20 per session. We got some great handouts including a printed version of The Good Fundraising Guide – so this course was extremely good value.

Creating a Heritage Fundraising Plan is the first of what will be 13 topics, covered in 99 training days, over the next two years. You can go to as many or few as you want. They all have a maximum of 15 participants and it was really good to ask questions, be able to discuss different people’s experience during the day. There was a great mixture of presentation, time to reflect on what you’re learning, and exercises to explore ideas in more depth in pairs and groups. There were also sweeties to keep the energy levels up!

The Institute of Fundraising trainer covered some really useful concepts and how they can be applied to fundraising. She made these easy to understand and relevant and it was good having a course that dug a bit deeper into fundraising planning than how to write a good trust funding application.

Wishing you’d been there? Don’t worry! There are 8 more courses running in June and July and all have places available. You can find out more and book at the Giving To Heritage website. 

The next dates are:

10 June 2014    Manchester
10 June 2014    Bristol
16 June 2014    Norwich
17 June 2014    Leicester
23 June 2014    York
30 June 2014    Newcastle
01 July 2014    Portsmouth
08 July 2014    Coventry
Giving to Heritage is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Catalyst Programme. AIM is pleased to be on the steering group for the project.
If you can’t get to the courses, you might like to look at AIM’s Success Guide for Fundraising, which can be downloaded from 

Book now for fundraising training through Giving to Heritage

The new Giving to Heritage fundraising training programme has announced its first workshop dates, starting in London on 3rd June. Booking is open for the Planning for Heritage Fundraising course at venues around England through to 8 July.

AIM is delighted to be on the Giving to Heritage steering group and to see such high quality training being made available to museums and heritage sites at affordable rates. The cost is only £20, with a maximum of 15 delegates. Giving to Heritage is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Catalyst programme.

More information about the overall programme can be found on the Giving to Heritage Website, where bookings can also be made.

Learning Outcomes for the Planning for Heritage Fundraising course:

  • Develop a fundraising plan for a fundraising activity
  • Review the fundraising environment, identifying appropriate fundraising opportunities.
  • Conduct a review of the performance of past fundraising activity.
  • Establish objectives, timescale, budget and appropriate fundraising techniques.
  • Discuss your fundraising plan with your line manager and other relevant colleagues/stakeholders and seek authorisation for its go ahead as necessary.
  • Ensure that any relevant legal and ethical requirements have been met and that that (if appropriate) your plan takes account of your organisation’s policies and procedures

The Planning for Heritage Fundraising workshop will be held on the following dates and locations:

3 June London – booking available.

10 June Manchester – booking available.

10 June Bristol – booking available

16 June Norwich – booking available

17 June Leicester – register interest only. Booking available by the end of this week.

23 June Yorkshire (location to be decided). Register interest only. Booking available by the end of this week

30 June North East (location to be decided) Register interest only. Booking available by the end of this week

1 July Portsmouth – booking available

8 July Coventry – Register interest only. Booking available by the end if this week.