Corporate fundraising is unlike individual and foundation fundraising in one key way. It has nothing to do with the donor’s philanthropic mission.
We talk a lot here at Philanthropy Daily about identity, belongingness, what donors really care about, and more. We talk about these things because that is what drives individual donors and also foundations to give.
Now, just for a moment, throw all of that out the window. Let’s talk about corporate fundraising.
Corporate fundraising is unlike individual and foundation fundraising in one key way. It has nothing to do with the donor’s philanthropic mission. It is all about what the gift will do for the business. It comes just about as close to an exchange of goods or services as you can get while still benefitting a good cause, namely, your mission.
Corporations need to know not so much how their gift will impact underprivileged students in Brooklyn or restore Western Civilization but rather how many people are expected at an event they might sponsor or how many unique visitors the webpage that their logo appears on will get. Things that are measurable and give them good exposure.
With that in mind, typically it is good to build a corporate sponsorship package around events and other highly public promotional opportunities. This is free marketing for the corporation and will link their business with your good cause and work. So, if it is an event package offer varying levels of corporate recognition at the event. Everything from the name and logo in the brochure, to the name and logo on the big screen at the event, or recognition at the podium by your organization’s CEO or the event’s emcee. Whatever sort of corporate sponsorship package it is, make sure the perks are tangible.
Moreover, it is good to focus on corporations that have a vested interest in your work. This is more clear for some organizations rather than others. For example, if you are a free-market policy think tank, you may have some good prospects among large corporations interested in less regulation and more free markets. Moreover, if you are a local non-profit, try working with local businesses whether they be small or major corporations, if they are headquartered in your area, they are more likely to want to be involved.
Additionally, it is not necessary to include corporations or their point of contact in donor club mailings, legacy society mailings, or other regular house file mailings. Remember, this is less about cultivation and more about the tangible perks.
I’ll end by noting that the rules of peacock fundraising still apply. You should still make the donor, in this case a corporation, the hero of your communications with them. However, it’s important to understand that their motivation for giving is different. Thus, it is necessary to select the right occasion and recognition structure to land more corporate gifts.