Corporations and nonprofits. A relationship that is significantly beneficial for both parties but often short lived.
What can you do to make a long-term strategy that is equally beneficial to the corporation and nonprofit besides the traditional financial backing and positive PR?
Find common ground. Target a problem or issue that can be solved by both parties through effective collaboration and methodology. By working together, the financial support to nonprofits gives them more resources to accomplish objectives and for the corporations, it provides motivation for its employees, R&D, and the well-being of its customer base.
Creative Input: Corporations often have graphic designers, copywriters, and in-house design departments that are responsible for developing and publishing logos, media, and more. These are very valuable individuals. When discussing a potential new venture, event or fundraiser, ask to collaborate with your corporate sponsors’ design team. They can offer constructive input and it gives them a new project in which they can bring creative ideas to light that they may not have had the chance to do previously. When you allow for input, both parties are getting innovative ideas while mutually achieving a fresh brand or identity.
Brand Awareness: From 5K t-shirts to Facebook posts to branded pens. Corporate sponsors have a logo for a reason and that is to have it be visible across all mediums. Holding a fundraiser? Ensure that your corporate sponsor(s) logo(s) is proudly presented on the invites, the banners, and the email campaigns that are being sent out. Corporations see a sponsorship as a business arrangement and will treat it as such. Keep them in the loop on what events, conferences, and fundraisers you plan on having so they can be ready to help spread the word and potentially create a new logo that merges yours and theirs.
Acknowledgement: A Corporate sponsor wants the recognition for supporting your nonprofit. How do go about doing this besides mentioning them in public speeches and board meetings? Get them VIP tickets to any events or fundraisers you have, have photos taken for national and local business journals, publicly acknowledge them on social media platforms (including retweets, shares, and pins), and when identifying how your goals were achieved, mention how their services or products are essential to your accomplishments.
Statistics and Data: Corporations love to know what their ROI (Return on Investment) will be. How much exposure did they receive from an email campaign or a Facebook post that was shared multiple times? The more numbers on impressions you can gather and present to corporations, the more confident they will feel in your partnership. Additionally, when measuring any sort of brand affinity or loyalty, use customer feedback surveys to get an idea of brand attachment from individuals affiliated with your nonprofit. When you present hard data to Corporations about ROI, you can expect your nonprofit to receive reciprocal treatment to even larger audiences.
Brand Awareness: Obvious one here but go beyond the norm. From 5K t-shirts to Facebook posts to branded pens. Corporate sponsors have a logo for a reason and that is to have it be visible across all mediums. Holding a fundraiser? Ensure that your corporate sponsor(s) logo(s) is proudly presented on the invites, the banners, and the email campaigns that are being sent out. Corporations see a sponsorship as a business arrangement and will treat it as such. Keep them in the loop on what events, conferences, and fundraisers you plan on having so they can be ready to help spread the word and potentially create a new logo that merges yours and theirs.
Collaboration: Always communicate effectively. Any deliverables promised by both sides should be laid out with visibility. If you had an agreement with a sponsor about logo placement, deliver on this promise. Hold corporations to their promises as well. Treat your sponsor like a returning customer; ask questions about their expectations, their wants and needs, how previous events went for them, and if they have any ideas moving forward. They typically will and this shows that you are taking the initiative in finding out their interests in the long run. If they have an idea that they keep bringing up, prototype it and deliver. Chances are they will want to further develop the prototype into an actual project or event. Working together with your sponsor is smarter than going at it alone. Nurture, build, and innovate with your sponsor.
The Benefits of a Long Term Partnership? Here’s 10:
Benefits For Nonprofits
- Expand donors and donor base
- Network to new business partners and develop relationships
- Increase media coverage
- Long term professional development for employees
- Accomplish initial goals and develop larger mission objectives
Benefits for the For-Profits
- Provide a lasting motivation for the company and its employees
- Increase brand affinity and customer loyalty
- Draw positive media coverage and attention
- Generate recognition from community leaders for the good they are developing in society
- Attract new business partners and rewarding relationships
Making the most of the partnership between a corporation and nonprofit requires collaboration, similar views, and constant communication. Through these tactics, corporations can benefit immensely from being in a partnership with a nonprofit. Additionally, nonprofits accomplish goals and set even larger ones as they progress. Corporations can increase sales, expand their customer base, and develop an image supported by their partner nonprofit that can reach farther audiences.
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