What do Sponsors Want?

When looking for donors for your organisation, have or do you look at what donors are wanting in return for their support?

I feel that gone are the days of simply adding their logo to letterheads, receipts are gone and, perhaps even a link on your wesbite to thiers may not be what’s in the best interests of sponsor-organisation partnerships these days.

Partnerships is the key here, any sponsorship arrangement is a partnership between your organisation and the other party to the ”agreement”.

You need to spend time looking at what you can offer a potential sponsor, what their likely expectations are, as well as look at what others are offering their sponsorship partners.

I’ve worked with a varierty of sponsors, some who only want a link to their website on the organisations, some who don’t want anything at all in return; but, others who want help from the organisation through use of donor contact information for marketing purposes – this is a minefield, given privacy act issues.

Some have asked that in return for their annual support, that they’d like the organisation to provide staff for company events, help with office work.

You need to spend time looking at what you are able to offer sponsors, and, yes look at what they want. It’s not one size fits all, and unless you get it right for each and every sponsor you’re not going to get the ROI for you and the sponsor right.

Talk with others in the sector about what is and isn’t working; give me a yell and I’ll help you with some planning to help with your sponsor acquistion and partnerships.

Contact me at charitymattersnz@gmail.com

Business Support

It’s estimated that business donations account for six percent of the donations some non-profits receive.

If this is the case then the question must be asked “how much time and energy is being used to reach and nurture this group?”

Is the time you’re putting into gaining business support being used wisely?

If residential – general support if the main income source for non-profits, wouldn’t it pay to spend more time gaining and nurturing this sector?

There are non-profits who are spending at least one third of their time concentrating on gaining business support, time they would be better off spending maintaining and growing the other support they already have.

If a stationary store knew that they were spending too much time growing one section of their product range, with little or no tangible result; they would stop and instead grow the area/s that they know they are making a profit from.

Non-profits should be doing the same.

When was the last time you reviewed where your support was coming from and what adjustments did you make in your focus in maintaining and gaining support?

I’d be keen to hear your views on this … leave a comment below.

Business Partnerships

When looking at business support, sponsorship or any other form of “partnership” – remember it’s that, a partnership.

This article from Rob Wu on the The CauseVox Blog makes for interesting reading, and has some great pointers.
Working with Partners & Brands

There’s power in partnerships.

When you work together, you can create something bigger and more successful than if you just worked alone.

Let’s find out the two major types of partnerships that you should be leveraging.

Two types of partners

Resource partners

Resource partners are those who can provide the resources necessary for your fundraising campaign. Typically resource partners are companies, foundations, and major donors.

Common examples of resource partners can include…

Promotion partners

Promotion partners are those who can help you raise awareness. This helps you reach new networks of potential supporters and donors.  Typically promotion partners are companies and brands.

Common examples of promotion partners can include…

  • Point of sale donation
  • Website advertising
  • Google Adwords for nonprofits

Read full post here

Is your Sponsor the Right Fit?

When seeking sponsors from the business community, do you simply target all and sundry, or do you ensure those you’re considering are the right fit and appropriate to your cause?

Appropriate, as in alcohol and youth – isn’t a right fit, or fast food, aka KFC and health may not be an appropriate fit.

Sure, not all companies that offer to sponsor and organisation will want, or expect, their name up in lights; but the majority will want some form of recognition for the support they have given.

It’s this group that we should look at to ensure that they are the right fit; that they aren’t going to detract from the good work of the organisation; or leave a bad taste in the mouths of other supporters and, potentially the people the charity is aiming to assist.

There is a potential risk that one sponsor could cause the loss of other sponsors who may not wish to be seen to beside the other.

This is where a sponsorship plan and “rule book” is needed, and it should outline the types of business (and individuals) that an organisation will approach for support; what the sponsor may receive in return for their contribution and other facets of how sponsorship with be governed.

We see almost every school term children and their parents with boxes of chocolates trying to raise funds for school or extra-curricular activities. There has been discussion around this for some time; there’s pros and cons to this type of fundraising. And, yes the money these types of activities bring are greatly needed. But surely there’s a healthier way.

For example; recently Valerie Adams and Malcolm Rands of the ecostore featured in articles with a soap alternative to chocolate being used as school fundraisers; it seems a great way for fundraising without any health risks etc.

Yes, it is accepted that there will be occasions when an organisation will have no other alternative but to accept support from a company that perhaps could be seen as “inappropriate” – e.g. petrol companies, seen as being environmentally “bad”; but necessary for an organisation to reduce costs  by receiving free or cheap fuel.

But, where possible it’s important that there are no real or perceived negative connotations when accepting sponsorships. It’s important for your brand and, the sponsors brand that everything fits properly with any sponsorship type relationship.

See also:

Business partnering is a two way affair

What Drives Business Sponsorship?

Sponsorship – Answering the questions

Business Giving

What Drives Business Sponsorship?

When approaching any business for support, it pays to know why business supports charity. Without this knowledge you don’t have the market intelligence to enable you to form the right “pitch”.

Businesses don’t always give because it’s the right thing to do, they have other motivators, often what fundraisers think is the reason isn’t.

Some reasons why business may sponsor:

  • Brand Image
  • Attract Business
  • Building connections/communities
  • Client Entertainment
  • Social Responsibility

We all hope that business support is because they want to make a difference, and yes, many do. But not all give because it’s right thing to do.

Knowing why a business may support you is important, if you know why you can pitch them in their language, their reason for why they should support you.

If you know a business is likely to support because they’ll have the opportunity to entertain clients, maybe you can weave this into your pitch. If they may give because of the types of others who will be at an event, then use this to your advantage.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are asking for charitable reasons and that you need their help – not the other way around.

Some companies may support solely for the PR standpoint, are these the types of business you want supporting you? Or, would you sooner have a business support you for what you stand for, for what you do?

Can business sponsorship be more than simply monetary?

What types of business do you prefer to have support you – those who write out a cheque, or those who will also roll up their sleeves and help out?

What’s some of the main reasons you’re finding businesses are supporting your cause?

What’s some of the strangest requests you’ve had from business sponsors?

Sponsorship – Answering the questions

The way the economy has been for the last few years (although it is seen to be improving) has seen many nonprofits missing out on sponsorship dollars; now is the time to look at how to work toward re-gaining sponsorship for your nonprofit.

As we know sponsors look for value for their sponsorship spend; as we know all sponsors are being more cautious, and are looking for ways to garner more return from their participation.

The old days of simply approaching a business and asking for sponsorship has gone; there’s a real need now to be able to fully demonstrate where the sponsors money will go, how it will be managed, who will benefit and what the medium to long term results of their giving will be.

Before you embark on seeking sponsorship it’s a good idea do a stock take; check that you have everything in order and can answer the questions potential sponsors are likely to ask of you.

Setup a check list, ask yourselves these questions:

  • What are your organization’s demographics?
  • Who participates with your organization and why?
  • Where are the people you help? Where do they live, work and play?
  • Are the people you work with single, married, young, old, families?
  • What corporate sponsors have you worked with, had before?
  •  What income generating ideas have you used in the past, how were these realised and what were the benefits to your organisation? Can any of these be used to help promote your sponsors?
  • Do you have testimonials from corporate sponsors attesting to the value of your organization?
  • What is your marketing/communication process like; do you have methods to keep in touch with those your organisation works with as well as with supporters? If so what do you use? (e.g. newsletters, emails etc)
  • Are you monitoring what other organisations offering the same or similar services as you getting in the way of sponsorship?
  • Do you promote, talk about your sponsors? If so how? If not how will you change this to ensure your sponsors are acknowledging them for their support?
  • What marketing materials do you use, and will you make an effort to feature your sponsors in all marketing and communications processes?
  • Do you talk to the media about your sponsors?
  • Are there opportunities for you to help current and prospective sponsors to work together, to help them do business with each other?

By answering these questions you will have be better prepared to be able to approach and answer the ‘hard’ questions today’s sponsors want answered. There will be other questions, they will want answered, you will need to be ready for any that you may not have thought of.

If you approach sponsors having the answers to their questions before you even get started you will be on a better footing to gain their support.

Remember, most sponsors will want to know ‘what’s in it for them’.

Business Giving

Do organisations focus too much on cash donations from businesses, event though many businesses, large and small, give mostly in other ways?

Many large businesses have formal giving plans and structures, they quite likely have various ways they give, giving staff time off to volunteer, legal or accounting consulting, HR services; and many more.

If we asked around, the majority of businesses who support community organisations, would say they do it because they see it as the right thing to do.

Most business giving, small to medium, could be seen as ad-hoc, given we see larger firms as organised in their giving; with the smaller businesses there appears to be no system, strategy, rationale, or strategic way in their giving.

Often I hear stories about how an organisation has approached a business and asked for X dollars; and what it would mean to the organisation, and then who go onto explain how they can help the business in return.

What these organisations may not realise is that some businesses, not all, don’t always want to be seen as “giving” – seeing any use of their giving as a PR or Marketing ruse as boasting, something they don’t want to be seen doing. They want to do it for the “right” reason.

Perhaps it’s time for organisations to realise that they need to have some understanding about the business they are approaching, and what they may or may not want in return for support. Maybe waiting until the business says, “what’s in it for us?”

When looking at business support, it’s best to do your research, and also understand that many businesses don’t have a charitable giving strategy; make it easy and have a strategy, other than “PR” focussed that will help them make the decision to support you.

What has your experience been in securing business support recently?

As a business what drives you to support?

See also:

Why do business support events?

Business partnering is a two way affair

Increase Your Revenue From Your Donors

Business partnering is a two way affair

Nonprofits are always on the hunt for businesses to connect with and gain as supporters; but it’s not as easy as picking up the phone or doing some online searches – some planning is needed.

Some questions need to be asked first –

  • What type of business is best suited to your needs
  • What type of business is least suited to your needs
  • Are your expectations for a short, medium or long term connection/commitment
  • Is it financial support or other support – if other, what other support could a business offer you

You MUST also think about what you can do in return for any support you gain from the business community. 

Connecting with, partnering with business must be seen as a two way street, you can’t simply expect to put your hand out and not give something in return.

The ways you can give in return could be as simple as profiling business supporters on your website and in newsletters.

But these are just the basics, what about hosting supporting business at an event, giving them an opportunity to talk about why they have connected with you, and to also talk about their business – give them the floor for five minutes, it’s the least you could do.

I’ve just finished reading a great blog from someone in the wine trade – Give in order to receive” and have to agree with the sentiment. 

Charities have to give in order to receive – it doesn’t have to take a lot, nor does it have to be a lot – but giving back is necessary.

Next time when you’re looking to partner with a business, think about how you can give back. 

Receiving is a two way street – a two way affair.



Big Company Charity

People often talk about the big companies and their support of charitable causes, disaster relief and other humaitarian projects – this article in The Guardian talks about this very topic.

The charity disparity: can corporate benevolence be free of self-interest?

For all the talk of aid dependency, Haiti is more dependent on remittances – people sending money home from abroad – than donations. While aid averaged about 12% of its annual income between 2004 and 2009, remittances from workers abroad averaged more than 22%, officially reaching almost $1.5bn in 2010 (although experts claim it is at least double that). As one friend put it, the Haitian toiling in the cloakroom of some London nightclub is more important than the World Bank.


So there is hardly a more important company for Haiti, and many other countries dependent on remittances, than Western Union. It oversees 214m personal money transactions every year, totalling approximately $76bn.

Read full article 

What are your thoughts on big companies and their support of charity – is it self serving, a way to please their customers and to look good in the community, or are they doing it for all the ‘right reasons’?



Don’t give discounts, make a donation instead

Do you offer prompt payment discounts? Ever thought that instead of giving a discount; you tell clients you will make a donation of the percentage normally given, to a charity in their name?

An accountant spoken to about this has said it’s possible to do, and it could a way for you to get paid on time; while at the same time showing your support for local causes.

Imagine you normally give a 10% discount to clients who make prompt payments, a bit like utility companies do. If your invoice is $1200.00, and you normally give a 10% discount, you’d be making a contribution to charity on behalf of that client of $120.

The other way this can be done, is to break the discount in two; give your client a 5% discount, and make a further 5% contribution of the total invoice amount to charity in your name. This way you’re able to claim the 5% as a tax rebate.

In the current up and down market we’re still seeing, it makes sense to look at other ways to encourage people to pay on time; so why not look at something like this as a way to help you and charity at the same time.

Selecting a charity or charities could be the hard part; but most people have an idea of the types of causes they support. A while ago I posted Not-for-profit – Giving Survey Results, this should give an idea on how to select a charity.

Imagine how the charity you give to would feel, seeing extra money coming in on a regular basis. Think how much more they could do with these extra dollars; and has it really cost you? It doesn’t if you normally give a discount.

Doing something like this can help with staff morale, ask your staff what charities they support, get staff buy in and you’re definitely on the road to a win – win – win situation.

What have you got to loose? Nothing, you can only win adopting something like this in your business.