Corporations as large as Apple to businesses on your local Main Street are aligning profit to their corporate social responsibility programs. They understand that today’s consumer wants to do business with organizations that are socially responsible. This is a challenge for nonprofits, but also a great opportunity.
It’s not easy to develop mutually beneficial relationships with for-profit businesses to help support your organization, but it’s not impossible. There are some common sense things you should always make sure to do.
- Target Market: When you’re looking for individual donors, you always search for supporters who are aligned with your mission. You want to seek donors who have an interest in the work you do. The same has to go when seeking corporate sponsors. You have to take the time to do your research. Suppose you work at an educational organization. After researching prospective corporation or business partners you have a number of prospects who support art and museum causes. Unless you’re able to make a very strong connection, get these prospects off your list. You want to be targeted with the most valuable resource you have–your time.
- Be Clear: When you’re developing your pitch, be clear about what you’re looking for in a corporate sponsorship program with your prospective target. Make sure you prepare a presentation or proposal that is concise. You’ll want to provide an overview of your nonprofit. You want to focus on the program you would like for the corporation to support. You want to explain succinctly and in a way that’s not academic the outcomes of the program. You’ll want to give them the results and evaluation. And you’ll want to demonstrate the plus for you and them on this partnership. The bottom line is to be clear and speak in business terms. Keep away from dense material and academic jargon which will lose people’s interest.
- Demonstrate an Equity Fit for the Corporation: Many nonprofit fundraising offices make a critical mistake when they’re looking for corporate support. They believe because they have a great cause or are a leader in their mission within the community that corporations and businesses will line up to support them. Not so. When you’re looking for corporate support, you have to remember something very important. Their primary concerns are their revenue and shareholders–not your organization. Be ready to demonstrate and speak to how your nonprofit will actually be an equity fit for the corporation. In other words, what’s in it for them? You only get one chance to make the first impression. When you’re making your pitch, knock this aspect out of the part.
- Mutually Beneficial Marketing: Do you have a large list of donors and supporters? Do you have a big following on social media? Remember that businesses want to make money, which means they’re looking for new customers all of the time. You probably think that your nonprofit can gain more exposure from them, but depending on the size of your organization, you may be able to give them a great bit of exposure. Even a school can promote in the media and across their social media platforms the visit of a CEO or high executive to their school.
- Demonstrate Metrics: Business is all about measurement. It’s increasingly becoming essential in the nonprofit sector to demonstrate “impact.” Businesses want to understand their return on investment into your nonprofit. Corporations will not give you money if you’re not able to show how you will be evaluating and proving your results. A great way to prove you mean business is to provide them at least two reports where you’ll be giving them meaningful updates with regard to the metrics and results of the program. For example, if you receive an annual sponsorship grant, you can develop a mid-year report. Provide them information that has been gathered to date and then at the end of the grant year team send the corporate sponsor the final results.
Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: How to DOMINATE YOUR Fundraising to Create YOUR Success” (Free Digital Download)
© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.