Let’s face it. Fundraising events are tough to pull off. Even if you have a comprehensive plan in place, a strong team of staff members and volunteers, and a great speaker lineup, things can always go wrong.
This isn’t meant to discourage you from hosting fundraising events. On the contrary, it’s supposed to serve as an inspiration for your organization!
While there is no shortage of fundraising advice out there, this article will mainly focus on securing corporate sponsorships and donations from local businesses.
Companies are nearly always looking for ways to be more philanthropic. Your nonprofit can be the recipient of their goodwill if you simply reach out before you host your next big fundraising event.
Read ahead for the four main ways your nonprofit can obtain corporate sponsors and donations for your next fundraising event.
If you’re looking for general advice on asking for donations from businesses, check out this article!
1. Research well in advance.
If your nonprofit wants to successfully ask for and receive donations from companies, you have to determine which companies you can realistically receive contributions from.
To do this, create a general list of companies that you already have relationships with. These could include:
- Vendors that you buy office supplies from.
- Companies that match the contributions of your donors.
- Local businesses with well-known owners or executives (some of these people might be board members of your organization!).
- And more!
This step is crucial if you want to successfully obtain corporate sponsors and donations for your fundraising event. You’re likely already conducting prospect screenings on your donor pool. Why not employ a similar strategy when asking for donations from local companies and businesses?
They say that past giving is the greatest indicator of future giving, and that principle holds up when applied to companies. Find out which businesses are already philanthropically minded and ask for donations and sponsorships from them first.
2. Remind companies of what you can offer them.
While many companies are more than willing to show their support for your cause with their sponsorships and donations, most of them are going to want something in return. In her article, “Corporate Sponsorships Are Not About Doing Good — Or Are They?” Nancy Page states that,
“Indeed, since from the corporation’s point of view these relationships are transactions, the expectation is that benefits will go both ways. The sponsor receives exposure to its desired audiences and shares a charitable glow, while the nonprofit receives money or supplies to support its projects.”
Before a company decides to commit to being a corporate sponsor at your fundraising event, you have to convince them that it will also be worth their while.
In order to do this, your meetings with company executives should address several questions, including:
- How will the short-term event and the long-term sponsorship meet the company’s objections and vision?
- Are their different levels of support and what do companies receive at each one?
- How long will the sponsorship last (i.e., just for the duration of the event? A year? Indefinitely?)
- What types of donors will be exposed to the sponsorship?
Naturally, you should be prepared to answer other questions that companies might have. Forming a corporate partnership or acquiring a corporate sponsor isn’t something that should be entered into lightly. Your fundraising team should be prepared to answer these questions to the best of your ability.
3. Remind companies of the different ways they can give.
If, during the course of your meetings with companies, you realize that they might be on the fence about donating a major gift or sponsoring your fundraising event, try shifting gears and remind them of the different ways that they can contribute to your cause.
Some of these ways include:
- Offering products for your event.
- Matching the donations of employees that give to your nonprofit during the fundraising event.
- Contributing manpower and volunteers.
- Donating items to sell during an auction (when applicable).
- And more!
Companies might be more willing to start out with one of these contributions rather than jumping straight into a sponsorship or major donation. Remind them that there are other ways to give back!
4. Add corporate executives to your guest list.
If you didn’t land the sponsorship that you wanted or were unable to secure a donation from a local business, don’t fret. There are still ways you can ask for donations and expand your fundraising efforts to the corporate world.
How? By inviting corporate executives and business leaders to your fundraising events!
Sometimes, a CEO or business owner might want to see evidence of how your nonprofit is spending existing donations. They also might want to directly interact with other donors or your nonprofit’s staff.
And who could blame them, really? If their company is planning to donate a significant amount of money or partnering with your organization, they’ll probably want to know that their donations and sponsorship will be money, time, and effort well spent.
Make sure that your invitation is personalized and signed by a board member or leader in your organization. You don’t want to send out a cookie cutter invitation!
Once your guests arrive at your fundraising event, make sure that you introduce them to various staff members that can effectively answer their questions and show them evidence of how donations are typically used.
By inviting corporate executives and business leaders to your fundraiser, you’ll be able to raise more money during the event itself and in the future as well!
As stated in the introduction of this article, fundraising events are no easy task. They require money, time, a dedicated staff, and lots of patience and planning.
But you might be able to take some of the stress away by asking for corporate sponsorships and donations for your next fundraising event. Whether you’re hosting a silent auction for your church or throwing the annual gala for your cultural organization, corporate sponsors and donations are a great additional source of fundraising revenue!
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs. He’s the president of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The company partners with nonprofits ranging from arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations to help them increase fundraising from corporate giving programs. Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitPro, Nonprofit Marketing Guide, Top Nonprofits, Nonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog. Organizations looking to learn more about employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs should check out the resources the company provides which include lists of the top matching gift and volunteer grant companies. Have questions for Adam Weinger or Double the Donation? Email Adam or connect with Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.