Now’s the Time to Search for Corporate Partners

Photo by Shahrukh Hasan
10.14.2013By

Now is a good time for you to start the search for corporate partners. A recent article for The Nonprofit Times suggests that increasingly, Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies are looking for ways to support the communities in which they do business. Although the article primarily focuses on corporations involved in international giving (the article is based on a study titled, “Giving Beyond Borders: A Study of Global Giving by U.S. Corporations”), there are several different insights that could prove of interest to you and your cause as we move closer to the end of 2013. Here are some of the tidbits in the article that I found most interesting.

Companies are donating to areas where they are also expanding their business.

Not surprisingly, companies that want to “give back” want to do so where they are also doing business. This shows a social responsibility component of the business world that social media has perhaps made more visible over the last few years. The article notes that most international donations went to communities in Asia, which parallels where many companies are expanding as well.

Do not fret if your cause is not international. The desire on the part of corporations to give back to their local communities can happen at home as well, but it is possible companies may not know that your cause is out there. Now might be a good time to try some outreach and see if you can get on their radar.

Look for corporations that show interest in your sector.

The article reports:

“Education was the top focus, with 69 percent of companies giving to education-focused nonprofits. Next were disaster relief, recovery and preparedness organizations, with 58 percent of companies giving in that area, followed by human services and public and society benefit, both at 55 percent.”

Again, do not worry if your cause does not fit neatly into one of these categories. But do not be afraid of thinking outside the box. If your cause is not directly related to educational efforts but it can be tied to those efforts tangentially, consider playing up those ties and parallels, either in your marketing or in your presentations to potential corporate partners.

Get your house in order first.

Before you think about approaching a large corporation, make sure that your organization can run efficiently and effectively with not a lot of extra legwork required. While corporations are looking for philanthropical partners, “some 68 percent of companies said a nonprofit’s effectiveness and efficiency was a key determinant.” Corporations also want to know that the money they are investing is going to an organization that will actually produce noticeable, favorable results. For marketers this is no news flash. Cries for metrics and measurements of ROI have been ringing in the marketing world for years. This also traces back to our conversation not long about about your cause website–contributors and corporations want to know that they are spending their money well by donating it to you.

You can find the right match for your organization.

While the article focused primarily on corporations vetting organizations, the point is also made that nonprofits can be proactive in the process of finding corporate partners. Organizations should do their homework and see if the corporation they are approaching would be likely to have an interest in the cause. “Talk to a corporation’s public affairs department to make sure your goals align before sending a full proposal.” In the end, this will not just help the corporation but it will help you as well.

Is your organization contemplating a search for a corporate partner for 2014? Have you undergone the process before? If so, what pointers would you add? We’d love to hear from you!

  • Adam Weinger

    Great post! We have found that large companies love the positive publicity that comes from working with nonprofits. This is especially true of nonprofits within the company’s footprint – it keeps employees happy, and happy employees = a happy community (and customer-base). Nonprofits should absolutely look to take advantage of that opportunity!

    Adam