Read PART 1 about working with employee groups and setting up a gift acceptance policy.
When starting your program you can look to develop in a few different ways (cont’d):
Have businesses sponsor event or programs. Look at your organization and figure out what is that you have that you can “sell” to a local business. They want to lend their name to your organization it makes them look good and adds credibility to your organization. What annual events or campaigns do you have that you could ask businesses to sponsor? I’ll talk more about setting levels at a later time. Is there a place on your organization’s website that you could post a message that says, “this page (or website) is sponsored by” and post a business logo? This can be done for an e-newsletter, a monthly publication you send out, a brochure you create, etc. It is important that you are specific about what the business is getting so they know what exactly they are sponsoring and for how long. And don’t sell yourself short. One of the biggest problems non-profits have is that they will offer too much for too little.
General contributions and grants. Lots of businesses have money that they want to give to local and national community projects. My best advice here is that you just need to ask for it. A mid to large size organization might get some random gifts from local businesses but if you are a small non-profit they probably don’t know about you (same thing if you’re a mid-size non-profit). Put together a plan for how you will approach past business givers, and a plan for how you will look to involve new ones.
I could probably talk in a great deal of more depth about business and will continue to at a later time. Do you have any specific stories or questions related to business giving?
Reader Question:”We hold an annual, volunteer run event and this year I am making a stronger effort to get in kind donations for things such as tables for the info fair, video equipment and laptops loaned for the day, etc.. The problem is that the folks that are attending our event are not a natural client base for party rental services and tech equipment. What can I offer potential donors in light of the fact that it will be pretty obvious that advertising to our group will not likely garner them additional business?” – Katie
A Small Change: Katie great question. Businesses benefit in a number of different ways through sponsorship. They have an opportunity to set themselves up as community advocates because they’ve given. I think one of the largest reasons businesses give is because they want the public perception that comes form giving.
Think about other opportunities and ways you can promote your sponsors maybe on your website. I would be surprised if no one in your donor base has regular events. This is a great way for a business to get their name in front of some new people.
Reader Question: “What would a non-profit organization charge businesses annually to have their logo/name on the web-site? Is there some “formula” for advertising benefits to the company that we can reasonably ask for and not undercharge?” – Sheila
A Small Change: I wouldn’t say there is a formula. I would steer clear of advertising and focus on sponsorship. If you are a large nonprofit or you have a lot of visibility then you can have higher sponsorship levels. Make sure you are setting something up you can sustain. Try to start reasonable and upgrade sponsors as you grow in recognition.