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How to Build Mutually Beneficial Nonprofit Corporate Sponsorships

Nonprofit organizations and companies have lots to gain from corporate sponsorships. Corporate sponsors can offer funding and support for nonprofits while the sponsors glean positive media attention for supporting your cause. However, if a nonprofit and a company aren’t paired up strategically, the relationship can be toxic━for both parties.

In this blog, we’ll outline how you should build mutually-beneficial nonprofit corporate sponsorships that helps support its cause and achieve its goals.

What Should Nonprofits Look For In Corporate Sponsors?

Finding the right sponsor for your organization is similar to dating━you may meet a dozen or more companies before settling on one. It is crucial that the mission, cause and other relevant values of potential companies align with those of your nonprofit organization. This should be some of the key factors that nonprofits look to when looking for corporate sponsors. 

The difficulty in choosing one can also root from what type of relationship it is and how long it is expected to last. Is the company sponsoring a specific event or are they funding a matching gift program for one of your fundraising campaigns? Are their target audiences similar to yours? For instance, in Macy’s Go Red campaign with the American Heart Association, both organizations were trying to reach out to women. 


Where Should They Look First?

For smaller nonprofits, start your search locally. Nonprofits can ask committee and board members if they have contacts at local businesses or even ask them directly if they would be interested in a sponsorship.

Studies show that local businesses are more likely to support nonprofits in their respective areas. A survey by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University found that contributing towards local community needs was the most influential factor for companies looking to support nonprofits. An example of this can be found in the UpPrize challenge, in which entrepreneurs whose innovations can make an impact on society are competing for a prize, funded by a partnership with The Forbes Funds, BNY Mellon, and BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern PA.


Even if monetary donations don’t result from the relationship, for-profit companies can offer local nonprofits services. DonorPro recently did this with the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership by offering its peer-to-peer fundraising software to local nonprofits at no-cost.

How Do They Land The Right One?

We’d like to think that all businesses will give to nonprofits based only on goodwill. However, businesses also want to partner with nonprofit organizations that align with their mission and values in order to drive return on investment. To land a good corporate sponsorship, nonprofits must have some value proposition that extends━beyond goodwill━to present to the business.

How Can Sponsorships Help Companies?

Simply being affiliated with a nonprofit organization holds value for a corporate sponsor: information organizations can use to help land sponsorships. For example, 61% of consumers are willing to try a new brand because of its association with a particular cause. According to a 2013 Nielsen study, 44% of American consumers would be willing to pay more for their goods and services if they were from companies that give back to the community.

Because of the ethical and tax-related issues, nonprofit organizations can’t advocate or advertise for their corporate sponsors, but they can announce their partnerships. On event, campaign marketing or website pages, nonprofits can list a sponsor’s logo and link to their websites. By showing that they are giving back to the community, businesses can build a place within their community and connect with their target audiences. 

When nonprofit organization and companies with similar visions and values team up to support a cause, they can do great things. However, in order to find the right sponsorship and land it, it is important for nonprofits to consider all aspects that can make the relationship a fruitful or a toxic one.

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Topics: Supporter Management Fundraising