For every non-profit, there’s no way around it.
Your cause is relevant and worthy. You’ve identified the need and crafted a breakthrough solution that will ensure tangible impact.
Your mission statement is both beautiful and inspiring.
You’ve assembled an impassioned, dedicated staff ready to execute your vision.
All's in place. Time to get the ball rolling.
But, oh yeah, there’s just one minor detail left.
You need money to make it all happen.
Fundraising and development are inescapable realities for nonprofits. And while there are lots of great fundraising ideas out there, one of the most important and poorly leveraged is corporate philanthropy.
Maybe you're a newly designatetd 501(c)(3) and have only just started assessing funding sources. Or you’re a well-established organization, one that’s cut its teeth in the annual scramble to acquire funds to sustain your operating budget while growing your program-specific allocations. Either way, barring an extensive network of wealthy donors or insider connections at leading foundations, it takes a certain degree of strategy and effort to competitively position yourself for funds.
The good news is this: now more than ever, corporations are finding that by supporting their employees in cause activities, they can increase employee engagement. That's why corporate volunteer programs and workplace giving initiatives are taking on ever increasing significance.
So how do you capitalize on this important trend?
The first step is to let businesses know that you’re out there as a potential partner. The greater your brand recognition, the more attractive you become for workplace giving and employee volunteer programs.
This means doing your homework when compiling a target list. Take time to study the broader marketing strategies of your potential corporate sponsor and analyze the image they're trying to project. See where their brand fits with your own mission and programs. If you can approach a prospective donor with a compelling business case for giving to your organization, your funding pitch will stand out. By presenting corporate giving opportunities in this light, you become more than just a recipient of the company’s generosity; you become a strategic partner, one with whom the company is more likely to build a lasting relationship.
If your donor request is significant enough, it may make sense to tweak or create a new program or initiative which better fits a funding priority of a specific corporate donor. Of course, that doesn’t mean reinventing your identity; your mission and vision are sacrosanct. But inflexibility won't get you anywhere, so be open to fine-tuning your original program ideas if it means developing important corporate relationships.
Outside of direct corporate outreach, there’s a new platform for getting donations and volunteers from corporations. Causecast for Nonprofits takes your organization to the corporate volunteering and workplace giving programs of its corporate partners. Do check it out. If you’re a part of a platform that connects you directly and regularly to a pool of employee donors and volunteers, you’re five steps ahead of the game.
Remember, without funding your cause will run out of gas fast. A savvy non-profit executive knows how to align the ideal with the practical so that principles are preserved while opportunities for impact are maximized.
I want to write about how your non-profit navigates the business world. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you work with your corporate supporters.