It’s no secret that fundraising is essential for nonprofits. Without a steady stream of funding, many important organizations would simply cease to exist. But there’s an art to successful fundraising for nonprofits.
One common pitfall is chasing money. That is, going after any and every potential funder, regardless of whether or not their goals align with the nonprofit’s. This can be a huge waste of time and resources. And it can damage your reputation if you’re seen as too eager or desperate.
A stronger approach is to focus on building relationships with potential funders who share the same values as your organization.
The Importance of Having the Right Fundraising Partner
Not all nonprofits have the benefit of having internal team members to support fundraising activities. If you are one of those nonprofits, you often have to go externally to find a fundraising partner to help you meet fundraising and budget goals. Finding the right partner is one of the most essential things you can do when it comes to nonprofit fundraising.
The right fundraising partner will have, or develop, a deep understanding of your mission and goals and will be able to help you create a customized strategy that meets your needs. They should also be able to provide you with the resources and support you need to succeed.
Evaluating Your Current Fundraising Strategy
You’re not alone if you’re considering evaluating your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Many nonprofit organizations face the same challenge: How can we raise money to support our important work?
There are a few different ways to approach this question, and the best answer will depend on your organization’s unique needs and circumstances.
The first option is to take a closer look at your existing fundraising methods and see if there are any areas where you should improve. For example, are you making the most of corporate sponsorships? Are you reaching out to potential donors in the most effective way possible?
The second one involves exploring new fundraising ideas and seeing if there are any that could work well for your nonprofit. This could involve something as simple as accepting online donations, a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or looking into volunteer grants.
Evaluation and planning are key to success, whichever route you decide to take. By taking the time to assess your current situation and set some goals, you’ll be in a much better position to create a fundraising strategy that will help you achieve your objectives.
Types of Corporate Sponsorships
One way for your nonprofit to raise funds is by securing corporate sponsorships. The three most common types of sponsorships are cash, in-kind, and cause-related.
Cash sponsorship is a financial contribution that a business makes to a nonprofit. This type of sponsorship is often used to help cover the costs of a fundraising event or program and can often be recurring donations. For example, Disney donated $3 million to Make-A-Wish in 2018 to help further their program.
Many corporations will also provide a matching gift when their employees contribute to charitable organizations. This is another great way to capitalize on corporate partnerships.
In-kind sponsorships are the donation of goods or services rather than money. This could include things like meals, office supplies, or printing services. For example, Lysol is a Product Partner with the Kids in Need Foundation, donating supplies to their cause. You can also reach out to local businesses or corporations to get in-kind donations for a nonprofit event like an auction or fundraiser.
Cause-related sponsorships are tied to a specific fundraising campaign or initiative that a nonprofit is working on. For example, companies like Aldi and Food Lion sponsor No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit focused on ending childhood hunger.
Many big businesses have a corporate foundation that chooses cause-related sponsorships that align with their own organization’s mission, so you should research which organization aligns with your mission before reaching out.
Each type of sponsorship has its own benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the right one for your nonprofit’s needs is important. Doing so can create strong relationships with local businesses and secure the funding you need to achieve your goals.
Finding a Corporate Sponsor That Supports Your Mission
Start by Researching the Corporation
Not all companies are equally committed to corporate social responsibility. Look for a company with a history of supporting causes similar to yours and a track record for charitable giving.
Define Your Needs
Be clear about what you’re looking for in a corporate sponsor. Are you in need of financial support? In-kind donations? Employee volunteerism? Fundraising events? Once you know what you need, you can more easily identify potential sponsors that could meet those needs.
Make a Pitch
Once you’ve identified some potential corporate sponsors, reach out and solicit donations. Make your case for why they should support your charitable organization. Be clear about how their sponsorship would benefit both your organization and their business. This is also a great opportunity to leverage your board members’ connections. They typically have strong ties in their local community and can help you develop the right pitch for corporate sponsors.
Working with a Corporate Partner as a Nonprofit Organization
Securing corporate sponsorship can be a great way to support a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. But you need to remember that you’re not obligated to do everything they ask of you. You should always maintain control over your organization and its mission.
Use these tips to work with a corporate sponsor:
Define the Scope of the Partnership
Be clear about what you are and aren’t willing to do. You don’t want to agree to anything that would compromise your nonprofit’s mission or the work you’re doing just to get them to donate money.
Maintain Your Independence
You should always maintain control over your nonprofit. Remember, the corporate sponsor is there to support your work, not dictate it.
Keep Your Options Open
Don’t be afraid to say no if a corporate sponsor asks you to do something you’re not comfortable with. There are plenty of other companies out there that would be willing to support your work.
The Bottom Line
Corporate sponsors can be a great way for nonprofits to raise funds and awareness for their causes. However, it’s important to find the right sponsor and define the scope of the partnership. By doing so, you can maintain your independence and control over your organization.
Looking for more guidance on how to better your organization’s fundraising strategy? Schedule a free consultation with us to see how our customized plans can help your organization.