There are countless nonprofits looking for corporate sponsors right now. And there are also countless corporations looking for nonprofits to sponsor with. It’s almost ridiculous that these two types of organizations are desperate to partner up, yet struggle to find each other.
Today, he worlds of business and nonprofits seemingly operate in different languages — and this inadequate communication can lead to false starts, wasted time, and inauthentic partnerships. In today’s world, consumers expect corporations to have a point of view and to speak up in support of causes they believe in. Below are five traits corporate sponsors look for in partners:
1) A shared purpose
During the pandemic and year of social/political unrest, companies rediscovered the power of promoting their purpose. Focusing on causes their employees and customers care about delivers a small sense of hope and unity in an uncertain world. Corporations may be on the hunt for sponsorship benefit packages that include opportunities for their employees, such as volunteer experiences. Share your organization’s impact and how you will continue to affect change with potential sponsors. Clearly demonstrate why the corporation should get involved and how their corporate vision aligns with your mission to effectively engage them.
2) Connection and relevance
Nonprofit leaders must look beyond monetary donations as the most important impact measurement. By establishing connections that are more personal than writing a check, nonprofits and their corporate sponsors can adapt, connect, and innovate. Today’s most successful partnerships are broader and deeper, with inclusivity among all parties involved.
Then, make the partnership relevant to their employees. If your cause matters, connects to their people, and will help them personally or professionally, they are more willing to contribute to an organization. Find the corporations that align with your mission or your event to start building relationships with those organizations first.
3) Global (and sustainable) good
Above all, focus on programs that aim to provide opportunities to create global good and develops members into leaders for impact on a larger scale. Accomplish this by:
- Caring for diversity and inclusion.
- Incorporating sustainable and ethical principles.
- Elevating underrepresented groups and minorities.
- Presenting opportunities for learning and growth.
4) Aligned audiences
Naturally, since a corporate partner’s audience can be such a big asset, it pays to do some homework to identify your best prospects. In fact, you should also think through your nonprofit’s audience to determine what kind of exposure you can offer a company. One reason MADD’s partnership with Uber makes sense is that the average Uber user is 21 to 34-years-old, a demographic with higher rates of drunk driving.
Similarly, when McPherson Strategies worked with JCPenney, they recognized that the department store’s primary audience was mothers, who lean toward causes related to children. That was one reason McPherson Strategies paired JCPenney with YMCA to provide afterschool programs for children. For both nonprofits and for-profits, the right partner is often the organization with the right audience.
5) Employee buy-in
I alluded to this in previous points, but it deserves it’s own number. When seeking corporate sponsors, many nonprofits only pay attention to the few powerful people at the top of an organization. However, the entire staff of your partner company should advocate for your cause. Nonprofits that rely on volunteers can recruit small and large groups for one-time or recurring shifts. Since the estimated value of volunteer work is $23.56 per hour, a large pool of potential volunteers is a huge asset, too.