This post originally appeared on Charityhive.ca on February 17, 2012
It’s impossible to sift through my twitter feed or litter of blogs without coming across an article on the challenges the nonprofit sector is facing when it comes to corporate fundraising. It is widely known that most nonprofit and charity organizations receive the majority of their funding from individual donors but how can they deepen the relationships with corporations in order for them to invest in them?
There are many companies, especially within the Calgary region, that are very well set up. They are packed with community investment teams and corporate social responsibility departments with mandates that require them to find the investments within the communities they serve. The big challenge for the nonprofit is that these corporations have some pretty strict policies and guidelines on how organizations can apply and access these funds. Although not the most personable, these application forms and guidelines are a must for these usual corporate suspects as they receive many requests from organizations like yours everyday.
The good news is that they do give. According to an Imagine Canada report of a survey involving 1500 corporations, the median contribution as a percentage of profits was 1%. Accordingly the motivations for giving among corporations fell into three main categories: First, they give to help build strong communities. Let’s face it: strong communities are good for business. Second, contributing is good for their companies relationships with their community; and third, because contributing fits with their company values and traditions.
How do we find prospects?
Here are a few simple steps your team can implement now:
1) Get smart!
Nothing replaces a connection to your cause. Knowing your case and ensuring your organization’s messages reflect the benefits in the community are extremely important. Corporations are not necessarily interested in what their money will do for your organization – they are looking to invest in you to enhance their community. (You may be nodding your head here but you’d be surprised how many nonprofit organizations are not able to convey this in their messaging).
If you haven’t been researching your potential prospects, it’s time to start now. Look first to the friends of the organization (i.e. board members and volunteers). Where do they work? Who are they are affiliated with? Would those particular companies have some affiliations and interest in investing their resources and assist your organization in benefitting the community?
3) Social media
You’ve been hearing about this everywhere but if you haven’t started, it’s time to grab hold of the potential this platform has on increasing the awareness of what you do. If there was ever a tool to encourage people to follow and like what you are doing, this is it. If you need some training to get comfortable using this medium, do it. It is not going away and it is such a great way to share your story and collaborate.
4) Get out there!
Best use of your time will be to get out there, network and meet with the people within the companies you have identified. Go learn about them and let them learn about you.