The result of corporate fundraising success is work; account management, operational involvement, marketing sign-off and PR engagement to name but a few; and then there’s my personal bugbear; contracts.
While I love the marketing aspect of corporate fundraising, the brand alignment and the planning and implementation of great campaigns, I am no lawyer; and the turgid detail of contracts leaves me cold.
Like many charities we don’t have a huge in-house legal department at Battersea. My corporate partners whisk off contracts to their legal teams and send over amendments and refinements for their “legal counterparts” – probably not realising that, in the first instance, this is me.
In comparison to the team of sharp suits, with thick carpets in a shiny office that I imagine make up the legal departments of our partners, I sit in a portacabin with a wipe-able floor (we have office dogs) and go through every contract line by line, ensuring that we are neither exposed nor over-committed.
This is not to say that Battersea has an amateurish attitude to our contracts; we are incredibly scrupulous and protect our brand and our assets, but this has to sit alongside the day-to-day activities of fundraising, and there’s no big team of law school graduates to check the details.
The disparity between big corporates and their charity partners is often most evident in issues relating to resources and, for me, means treading a fine line between delivering a professional partnership and ensuring that partners understand that there is a reason we don’t have big flashy offices and huge teams.