PMA Consulting, LLC

What’s Your Value as a Nonprofit?

For many years, corporate philanthropy consisted of presenting oversized checks to nonprofits without a great amount of conversation surrounding the benefits of the investment for either side. While corporations don’t participate in philanthropic endeavors strictly for capital gain or social exposure, they do have a responsibility to their shareholders and the employees to make responsible decisions, particularly in today’s economic environment.

Today, corporations are looking for multilayered partnerships with nonprofits. This requires organizations to think of the full range of benefits they can offer to corporations when asking for support. When making a plan to talk with corporate donors, consider the following ideas:

1. What is your value-added proposition? Corporations, like nonprofit organizations, have missions and values they have to fulfill. While it would be easy for them to say yes to all proposals, corporations set guidelines to the type of project that’s in front of them. Before going to meet with a corporation, it’s important to do your homework and understand what’s important to them, the types of nonprofits they have given to, and what value your nonprofit can give. Corporations tend to align their corporate citizenship with their brand and identity.

2. What impact will your partnership have on the community? Corporate citizenship is not about making money for businesses. It is, however, about making an impact on the local community, and in some cases, a global impact. Nonprofits need to understand, when approaching a corporation, how their investment will affect the communities they are reaching out to. Make your benefits clear and concise when approaching a business.

3. Cultivate your relationships. This might seem like a simple point, but you need to know your potential business partners. Many meetings tend to occur in the corporate offices, however, invite them to your organization (if appropriate) and have them experience the mission of the nonprofit. If a corporation can visualize how their contribution will benefit the organization, the sponsorship will be more likely to occur. Relationships are crucial to gain corporate grants and sponsorships.