It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars. It is one soul which animates all men.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most fundraisers â€“ executive directors and board members included â€“ know the benefits of securing corporate funds. Among them:
- create a sense of stakeholder goodwill
- increase the nonprofitâ€™s ability to attract other corporate supporters as well as support from the public sector
- enhance the nonprofitâ€™s reputation for aligning with certain respected corporations
- expand the potential pipeline for individual giving among the staff and boards of the corporations
- secure access to potential board members with experience and expertise the nonprofit might not be able to bring on board itself
- have access to innovation and other advantages the corporation could provide.
Imagine that you are the executive director of a non-profit making a pitch to the CEO of a company. Why should she/he consider giving to your non-profit? Now consider a decidedly less attractive scenario: the person you are pitching is not on the companyâ€™s staff at all, but a manager at its ad agency or PR firm. Consider that ad agencies and PR firms are also funded by your corporate prospect, rendering them your competitors for funding.
To attract corporate funding, it used to be sufficient to share an anecdote, show why your organization is distinctive in its outputs, demonstrate the organizationâ€™s impact, and connect with your audience. Today, it is essential for any nonprofit hoping to secure corporate funding to show respected corporations the â€œwhyâ€ â€“ i.e., whatâ€™s in it for them – to fund a particular nonprofit.
Some tips once youâ€™ve identified a shortlist of corporate prospects:
- Research, cultivate, solicit, and steward these funders with the kind of diligence and care normally reserved for securing major donors.
- Be especially attuned to articulating your organizationâ€™s mission, vision and values in ways that resonate with corporate funders and their gatekeepers â€“ i.e., show them the benefits to their companies.
- Communicate throughout the organization the needs, expectations, processes, and accountability corporate funders demand from staff. Banish from your organizationâ€™s culture the attitude of â€œThatâ€™s the fundraiserâ€™s job, not mine.â€
Â© Liz DiMarco Weinmann, B.E.A.M.-Impact GeneratorÂ©