Bad news. Corporate giving is dead. What? You hadn’t heard? So you’re still chasing companies in hopes of getting a big check? Well, you can stop doing that.
Companies never gave away that much money to begin with. According to Curt Weeden, the author of Smart Giving is Good Business, the average company only gives away .80% of its pretax profits – less than half of what businesses donated a generation ago. Many companies give a lot less than one percent. McDonald’s only gives away .32% of its pretax profits. That’s $30 million in donations from a company that spends nearly a BILLION dollars annually on advertising.
The total contribution from U.S. companies each year is $16 billion. That seems like a lot until you know that individuals give away hundreds of billions of dollars to charities each year. Plus, when you deduct the in-kind products companies donate to charities – for which they receive a generous tax deduction – from this total you may conclude what I have: the corporate coffer for charity is a piggy bank.
<p”>I’m not suggesting you give up on companies. They have massive wealth, but you won’t find it in the community relations or corporate giving department. Raising money from companies requires a different approach. Here’s what I suggest.
TARGET BUSY DEPARTMENTS.
Here’s a number that will surprise you. Of the thousands of companies in this country only around 500 have full-time people dedicated to corporate giving. Just 500! That means for most companies, corporate giving is a part-time activity that falls on someone within the company that probably has something better to do. Do you really want to expend your energy, time and resources chasing something about which companies are indifferent to at best?
I didn’t think so. That’s why you should focus on the busiest departments within a company. They’ll also have the biggest budgets. I had my best luck with three departments: sales, marketing and human resources.
Sales teams know better than ever that cause marketing can offer a competitive edge that goes beyond product and price. Marketing teams are looking for creative programs that engage customers differently than traditional promotions. Human resources departments are hungry for ways to engage employees and boost morale and retention.
FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALS.
The pot of gold in companies is its employees and customers. For employees, focus on programs like payroll deduction, matching gifts and volunteer grants. For customers, point-of-sale and percentage of sales programs are potential goldmines. Even if the company is business-to-business (B2B) they still have customers and a huge opportunity to leverage B2B cause marketing strategies.
An innovator within its own industry of hygiene products, SCA Tork sought the same reputation in fundraising when it launched the company’s first business-to-business fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry.
The fundraiser involved SCA Tork’s Xpressnap Dispenser. A cool name for a napkin dispenser. For four months the dispensers were discounted from $8 to $2 and $1 per dispenser was donated to No Kid Hungry. The company promoted the campaign through a trade press release targeting the food service industry, e-blast to its distributor network and direct sales conversations – all with information on No Kid Hungry. The fundraiser surpassed SCA Tork’s goal by $3,000. It also doubled the average monthly sales of Tork’s napkin dispensers!
BECOME A MONEY MAGNET.
Not long ago I had a conversation with an executive director about her nonprofit’s successful cause marketing program. “I’ve never made a cold call in my life,” she said. “Companies call me asking if they can support us.” How great is that? They’ve become a magnet for corporate cash!
First, make sure that your nonprofit is having the biggest and deepest impact possible. Honestly, if all nonprofits did this today half of them wouldn’t be in business tomorrow. They’re not succeeding because they are not having an impact. Can you honestly answer that your nonprofit is having an impact?
Second, you have to communicate that impact. Thanks to social media we are all in the publishing business now. We don’t have to wait for writers, reporters and newscasters to tell our stories. We can tell them ourselves, but we have to be skillful storytellers. Remember, have an impact, communicate that impact. If you do those two things, good things will happen.
The best thing about this strategy is that it attracts all kinds of money, and not just corporate dough. A rising tide lifts all boats.
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