How to Attract Corporate Sponsors for Nonprofits

When nonprofit organizations first start, their hearts are in their hand with a cause in front of them. They ask how they’ll pay for their mission and get started in attracting donors and corporate sponsors. Even the largest nonprofits are started by one person with a cause, or a few with a desire to effect change.

Nonprofit fundraising strategies often include the need to hold fundraising events, which also serve to build awareness for a cause. To decide on a fundraising event, organizers will need to consider what their expenses will be. For example, Charity galas have more upfront costs than walk-a-thon fundraisers, and corporate sponsors are needed. Finding event space and vendors to provide food and drinks to attendees comes first. They consider what equipment they’ll need to rent and have a real need to consider their fundraising event budget. This is before they have started generating funds.

Seeking corporate sponsors for events is a basic survival skill for nonprofit organizations. From the very first fundraising event their success often depends on it. Who to ask and what you can offer them in return are the main aspects to consider in attracting corporate sponsors.

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Traits and Tips in Procuring Corporate Sponsors for Nonprofits

The Confident Cat                

No matter what your cause, corporate sponsors are out there for you. Believing this is primary. There are billions of dollars spent each year by corporate sponsors. Corporate sponsors for nonprofits stand to receive a piece of the pie.

Being small is no reason to think corporate sponsors are not interested in your nonprofit fundraising campaign. Having little experience in procuring corporate sponsors is also not in your way. The confidence to approach them with an excellent plan is what matters.

The largest nonprofit organizations need to continue to stay on their game in keeping corporate sponsors. Growing large nonprofits is all about continuing to seek more sponsors, and staying sharp in maintaining the ones they have. The same is true as small nonprofits move forward.

There is a heightened interest for corporations to put their money toward causes. They know this reflects well on them. Their market base considers whether to buy their goods and services based in part on their social responsibility.

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The Good Storyteller

Tell corporate sponsors the story of your nonprofit and how it began. Speak of your humble beginnings and vision, such as creating a soup kitchen with all of the workers and food being donated. Perhaps you placed a container on the front counter of the restaurant marked “Soup Kitchen” and watched your loyal community give of their time and money.

Focus on the joy of your story. Speak to what struggles you’ve overcome. You may be speaking with a strictly business minded person. Tell them how they can be a part of the solution, and strengthen your cause. Gauge who they are and find a way to connect. Don’t be too lengthy or use much business jargon. Speak with authenticity. The best speakers engage with their audience.

The Convincing Scribe

The proposal you present to corporate sponsors will vary. If you are making a presentation to a bank you’ll speak to every dime in a business tone. To a large merchandise chain, money matters too, yet marketing is their niche. Regardless of who you wrote your proposal for, details of your mission are key.

Find proposal examples online for making pitches to corporate sponsors for nonprofits. Discover the proper format for business proposals to sponsors. Check in with your team and advisory board for feedback and expertise.

Key Points for the Scribe:

  1. What you are good at – What can you bring to the table that will be of value to the sponsor? Perhaps it is your reputation for giving. Or your ability to grow and raise funds in a short amount of time. Tell them of your outreach efforts. Are you a good public speaker? Do you easily form partnerships?
  2. Who you serve – Share statistics, for example, as to the percentage of people interested in conservation. What specific aspect of conservation do you serve? What percentage of charity dollars are given to conservation?
  3. Your marketing efforts – What is your marketing plan? Give examples of digital marketing and printed materials, and your dream marketing ideas if you had a larger budget. What public recognition do you offer them? How will you include them in your marketing?
  4. What you bring to the sponsor – Tell your potential corporate sponsors for nonprofits what you can do for them. How do you foresee improving their reputation? What is your fiscal projection for their company by partnering with you?
  5. What is your experience level – Offer contacts who are experienced in fundraising. Create partnerships simply by meeting for coffee with other nonprofit philanthropists. Present them as your advisors. Seek board members in all areas of business to back you as a partner and advisor. Having experienced people at hand shows corporate sponsors that you’re ready for anything.

The Gracious Communicator

Developing a relationship with the person you meet is essential. You may find your proposal will not offer you what you need. Yet that person may help you in the future as a corporate sponsor. As your nonprofit grows, they may help you with other projects. Stay in touch regardless of the outcome of your proposal.

Be a partner to other nonprofits in helping them seek corporate sponsors. Not only is there strength in numbers, you have reason to stay in touch with potential sponsors. They may be more likely to help you if they know you and see you’re a good partner to others. And strong business relationships are more valuable than dollars.

The Prepared Accountant

A tremendously important detail is knowing the budget cycle of potential sponsors. Put your accounting hat on when considering the time frame of your presentation. Be prepared in knowing when the sponsor you seek releases their annual budget. Which quarter will they finalize their budget plan? You want to meet with them well in advance of this. Simply ask, and wait for the right time to make your presentation. Be methodical and patient – it’s truly about numbers.

The Wise Owl

Know the power you hold when meeting with  sponsors for nonprofits. As you sit across the negotiating table and feel a little fear, realize why they want you. Be prepared and feel secure in the knowledge that your nonprofit can improve their business greatly.

You promote businesses

Each company works hard in maintaining a good image in the minds of the public. Businesses small and large keep this focus central to their efforts. When sponsors are associated with your nonprofit, you lend them credibility as a company who gives to poverty, nature or education.

You grow businesses

You help corporate sponsors reach a wider demographic. More customers will be attracted to their brand because of their association to helping children, homeless people or women.

You engender loyalty

Businesses know the investment they are making if they support your cause. You help them in creating a strong customer base. Not only will their customers be touched emotionally that the grocery store chain gives to charity, they’ll spread the word others.

Promoting Your Sponsors Online

Successful, well-managed fundraising events allow your organization to raise money and grow your nonprofit. They also provide the opportunity to promote your corporate sponsors. Choose Streamlined fundraising websites such as those offered by DoJiggy make event management and sponsor promotion easy. Create a website that is professional and worthy to share with potential corporate sponsors before approaching them.

Go to the heart of the matter with regard to the key ingredient in crowdfunding events which is motivation. Whether you are referring to your participants or your donors, your mission is all about creating a climate of positive energy.  Show corporate sponsors how you have accomplished this.

Walk potential corporate sponsors through your donation website. Show them that you know how to make their money work. Perform for them your responsive website design for mobile donations. Show how you collect recurring donations and drive traffic to your state-of-the art fundraising website.

More Sponsorship Resources

Read more about Sponsor management on our fundraising websites. See also this article on How to Attract Sponsors for a Walk-a-thon.