Reaching out to corporations for support during a campaign or a major donor initiative can be rewarding if done correctly.
There are three main rules to addressing the corporate sector:
- Research, research, research – do your homework!
- Make sure that you, and everyone on your fund development team, has done their homework.
- Ensure that every member of your cultivation and management team have read the homework
Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders primarily and to do what they do very well. They do not suffer fools easily and anyone who manages to get a meeting with senior executives had better be over-prepared.
“How is contributing to your University going to bring more people to our gasoline/petrol stations?” A real question asked of me during a cultivation/solicitation meeting. Fortunately, we had done our research and were able to explain how research had shown that consumer loyalty for petroleum products was as closely tied to the social engagement of the petroleum company as their advertising. They knew that, and we demonstrated that we knew that too – because we had taken the time to get to know, not only them but their industry and what makes it successful.
There are hundreds of issues that impact the success of non-profit engagement with corporations, not the least of which is: which corporations do you want to be associated with and which ones are not appropriate for you at this time?
“You are known by the company you keep”
Health charities may want to avoid relationships with companies that market products deemed to be unhealthy; environmental organizations may want to focus on like-minded entities and restrict their engagement with resource development corporations; educational institutions may not want to engage alcohol or tobacco sponsorships. Finding a consultant that can help you navigate the maze will not only make your corporate philanthropy, sponsorship and cause marketing more effective, it will make your job a whole lot easier.
At Global Philanthropic, we have fund development professionals that have worked inside industry and understand what works and what does not. An investment in solid, professional counsel can not only save you time and energy, it can result in significant financial, organizational and operational benefits.
Richard Walker is a Senior Consultant for Global Philanthropic in Canada. Richard please email, firstname.lastname@example.org