In the first article in this series, I discussed the fallacies related to a very common corporate support myth that “Well-Known” companies should support “my” mission.
In today’s edition of Asking for Support, I want to discuss another prevalent myth about corporate funding.
MYTH TWO: All “Well-Known” companies have deep pockets. In my 25+ years in this business, I have yet to meet a corporate executive who believes they have sufficient budgets to adequately support their basic marketing needs, much less for cause marketing in particular. Like beauty I suppose, size is in the eyes of the beholder and one person’s perception of big may be another’s perception of small.
MYTH BUSTER: The one fact I know for certain within this mythical land of big budgets and cause marketing is this…If you only focus on cash, you will end up with the smallest possible budget!! Of course, cash should be a part of your overall asks, but not the solo component. Here are five handy tips to get more money from your corporate partners, without asking them for cash.
Add a fundraising component to your corporate partnership. When a retailer asks its customers to “add a dollar” to their purchase, there is no limit to how much they can donate to you, or in this case, raise for you. Savvy nonprofits are creating turnkey programs to make this dream a reality. Click here to see a best in class example.
Ask your corporate partner to consider ways they can leverage their EXISTING communication channels to promote your message at little to no cost to them. In my previous life as a nonprofit development professional, we recruited thousands of participants for our signature event via in-package inserts in one of our sponsor’s boxes. At an average fundraising rate of $100 per participant, you can see how this added significantly to our bottom line.
Think of assets your corporate partner can provide to help support your mission while reducing your expense line. There are many no brainers in this tip subject area – donated water for walks, donated printing for invitations, etc. But, I encourage you to think B-I-G-G-E-R. On behalf of one of my previous nonprofit clients, we negotiated a travel discount with a sizable hotel chain. Last time I checked, my client had saved six figures in travel expenditures despite a no “cash” partnership with the chain.
Ask your corporate partner to promote your mission, your message and/or your fundraising programs. Even if a company can’t make a sizable direct cash donation to your mission, they have the ability to extend your message to thousands of potential individual donors. I am a huge fan of UNICEF’s Tap Project. Participating restaurants ask their patrons to donate $1 for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised support UNICEF’s efforts to provide clean and accessible water populations without access.
Don’t forget to look INSIDE as well as out. Employee giving can generate significant dollars. If your corporate partner is willing and able to match employee donations – congratulations and kudos to you. A denim day can be a real success too. But, as always, I encourage you to think beyond the “typical” and get creative. We created an annual giving event for one of our corporate clients. Each employee was invited to attend a carnival-like atmosphere where the company’s nonprofit partners each had a booth to promote their mission and compete for employee donations. Employee satisfaction was sky high and participating charities enjoyed significant employee support. Step on up – everybody wins!
I hope these tips will prove helpful in expanding your cause partnerships beyond traditional cash fees.