Do you remember back in 2011 when Google introduced the Zero Moment of Truth (or ZMOT)?
The zero moment of truth refers to the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product, often before the seller even knows that they exist. The number of consumers researching a product online prior to purchase has been on the rise in recent years as the internet and mobile continue to advance.
Speed ahead six years and I think it's safe to say that most companies - like consumers - are researching nonprofit partners before they ever send them an email or call them on the phone. Of course, nonprofits know this, but their websites often lack the content businesses are looking for to move them through the sales funnel from awareness to consideration to partnership.
Fortunately, I ran across a great nonprofit website that has a lot of the content a potential business partner would look for from a nonprofit partner. I was impressed, and you will be too!
If I was a business in the United Kingdom, I would partner with Marie Curie in a heartbeat.
According to their website:
Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance. Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.
The first thing I loved about the Marie Curie website was the homepage. It immediately grabbed my attention and confirmed that I was looking at an organization that knew how to market itself. If I was a potential corporate partner visiting their website for the first I would definitely think I was on the right track.
First impressions matter, right? I did a quick search of a similar palliative care organizations here in the states and I found this website. Hmmm....not quite the same impact.
I realize that I may not be comparing apples to apples with these two organization, but I think you get my point. Most nonprofits don't think of their websites as calling cards for their donors - and especially not for potential corporate partners. But they should.
Marie Curie only has three main tabs at the top. As I was looking for info on how to get involved with them I clicked the last one, Get involved.
In the drop-down box, I clicked on Become a Corporate Partner. The page it took me too had another great image. In addition to having a Contact us button, I had four choices that included a link to How we can support you. What?! A nonprofit that's interested in my success. How many nonprofit websites have this?!
Of course, I clicked on this first. This page had some great information, including how Marie Curie would support the corporate partner. The benefits included:
- A dedicated account manager who will set out objectives for the partnership, inspire you with ideas and be in regular contact keeping you informed on all aspects of the partnership. [Wow, a direct contact person just for me!]
- The knowledge and expertise of the corporate and commercial teams across Marie Curie's head office, 45 regional offices and 438 community fundraising groups. [These folks have some experience and breadth. Good for me.]
- Our social media team, who will help you engage with our 500,000-strong Facebook community and over 54,000 dedicated supporters on Twitter. [I won't just be talking to my customers. I'll be talking to their donors.]
- Tailored fundraising materials, from collection tins and T-shirts to posters and balloons. [This is a turnkey program!]
Next, I clicked on How you can support us. This page had a bunch of options for business fundraisers because as Marie Curie explained at the top "Every business is different – so each of our partnerships is too." Businesses want want programs that fit and work for them, and this page provides lots of great thought-starters.
The final link I clicked on was Our Partners. On this page I could check out all the different corporate partners, of which Marie Curie had quite a few!
One of the best parts of the Marie Curie website were all the case studies they had of their corporate partnerships. On every page I visited I could access cases studies of their successful partnerships.
These case studies are awesome! They include video, testimonials, program details and results. The number one thing I see lacking on most nonprofits websites are case studies on successful business partnerships. These are important for the consideration stage of the funnel. Companies want to know what success you've had with other businesses. That will give them the confidence to work with you.
Looking at Marie Curie's corporate partnership pages, you can't help but leave with respect for the organization and admiration for its partnership efforts. That's just how a potential corporate prospect should feel when they visit your site.
- Companies just don't call you up and strike a partnership deal with you. They go to your website first for their own Zero Moment of Truth. To build awareness and consideration for your cause and land corporate partners, you need a website that engages visitors and builds confidence.
- If a corporate prospect plugs your URL into Google, what do they see first? What kind of impression does your site make? Does it look amateurish? Uninspiring? Boring? Cluttered? That needs to change.
- If you've worked with corporate partners before - or hope to work with them - you should have a tab for partnerships.
- Follow Marie Curie's lead and have a How we can support you section. Fill it with things you can do to help partners achieve their goals. Remember, good partnerships are win-win.
- Let companies know that you want to work closely with them to choose and execute a fundraiser that works best for them AND you.
- For every corporate partnership you execute you should have a case study that shares the details, challenges and dollars raised. Just don't use text to tell this story. Use video, images, testimonials and anything else that will communicate a powerful and persuasive story.
Marie Curie's website is great, but it's not the only one out there. What other organizations are doing a great job attracting corporate partners with their websites? Share them in the comments below or with me on Twitter. I'd like to put a Pinterest board together of good nonprofit websites that can serve as models for partnership success!