Successful Negotiation Can Lead to More Money for Your Non-Profit
Many small non-profits prefer not to get involved with sponsorship as they worry that they can’t deliver the promotional benefits or profile that a company may expect.
However, remember that profile and branding is only one aspect of a successful sponsorship. What a company wants differs from organisation to organisation and you need to think about the potential benefits that a sponsor could receive from getting involved with your non-profit. Rather than, ‘well, we can’t invite them to the opera or give them branding on every street corner’.
So, my number one tip is:
Start from the perspective of ‘what are the benefits of sponsoring x charity?’
And don’t begin and end with logos and branding.
What about recruitment? Are there companies working in your local area who predominantly recruit either from your community (in terms of the type of people that you work with and for) or you locality (in terms of your geographical location)? If there are, they may consider supporting you as a good way of boosting their profile and improving their image among potential future employees.
One sponsor I signed up in the past was a new company that had an urgent need for temporary, part-time staff – and the charity I worked for at the time just happened to have people looking for that sort of work as their clients. So it was an obvious fit. We couldn’t give them national branding, press stories or fabulous client entertainment – but we could solve one of their immediate problems and that was enough.
Don’t be intimidated by sponsorship. You are not the small partner who can be steam rollered by the sponsor. You are possibly the answer to their key challenges.
So what problems can you help a company to solve? Think about:
What being involved with your charity means?
Can you give a company access to a client group that they want to recruit from?
Can you provide volunteering opportunities to a sponsor’s employees that will benefit their personal development?
Can you provide access to their key customers (or a group that they would like to become customers)?
Does your work resonate with what they do – or have an obvious link to their work/employee profile/CEO interests?
Katya Andresen writes about the 4 ways to engage with corporates and gain their support in terms of corporate giving rather than sponsorship but there may be some messages you can take away from this.
Most of all, enjoy it!
Enjoy the creativity that sponsorship can bring to your fundraising. It allows you to approach your work differently and gives potential sponsors unique opportunities that they couldn’t access without your non-profit.