I recently spotted Letter To A CEO: The Surprising View In The Mirror on Forbes.com and it got me thinking about how our sector starts a conversation about sponsorship or a deeper commitment for support. While this article is geared toward CEOs, if you look at the data from your view AND his or her view…you may find some surprising information. The kind of information that may cause you to expand your scope of what you talk about in that first meeting.
Of course my first, strongest, and most important advice to you when you approach a corporation whether in person or via mail, is this: tell your story powerfully.
Corporations are led by and managed by people who are secretly looking to feel great about their philanthropic investments. People who will respond to an emotionally-engaging story about your work.
What makes this even more important is that your story has the potential to gain exponential support. Corporations have more than one person who can provide you with time, talent, and in-kind or financial support.
According to the Forbes article:
36% of CEOs say encouragement from employees would matter more than any other stakeholder group in a decision to expand the company’s investment in the community.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? If you can connect with the employees you have a better chance of winning the support of the corporation, which can benefit you not just financially, but also win you in-kind support.
59% of companies surveyed offer paid-release-time volunteer programs in 2013, up from 51% in 2010 and the median number of hours volunteered on company time grew 37% from 2010 to 2013.
When you reach out to companies or employees you might want to think about including a story about the difference volunteers make to your organization and talk about the good they do in the community. Remember, personal and engaging stories will serve you best. Do you have one about a volunteer and how they helped one of the people you served? How about what the volunteer has gotten out of their work for your nonprofit.
86% of companies match employee gifts.
A very simple way to double your fundraising money. Make sure when you reach out to individual donors to ask if their company has an matching program.
64% of companies make non-cash gifts, including product, pro bono, and other in-kind contributions.
When you approach a corporation make sure you’ve brainstormed all the ways the individuals at that company can help. Sometimes pro bono services and product donations can be more valuable than money. Keeping an open-mind about what kind of help you’ll accept can benefit you greatly.