We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak

After reading 10 TRAITS OF TERRIBLE MAJOR AND LEGACY GIFT FUNDRAISERS and seeing some comments, with one in particular referring to the show up and throw up fundraiser, it reminded me on a couple of “professional” fundraisers I have met.

Their modus operandi was to make an appointment with a potential supporter and talk the whole way through the meeting, the wouldn’t give the person they were speaking with the opportunity to talk.

They also forgot the old expression “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” – yes, they really did like the sound of their own voice.

Often when speaking with them about why they weren’t gaining support, they would say that they had no idea why people weren’t attracted to the organisation; after all they had talked about the successes of the organisation, how it was meeting goals, how important the staff were. But, they didn’t talk about the beneficiaries of the organisation, nor did they talk about current supporters and how they gained from being associated with the organisation.

I recall helping some organisations gain new major sponsors in a nice simple way. We invited some current major sponsors and some we were trying to woo to meet with us. All we did was give an update as to what we had been doing, some of our successes. Then we invited the current sponsors to talk about why they were supportive, what they were doing and let them answer any questions the prospective sponsors had.

At the end of the meeting, two of the prospective sponsors pulled out their cheques books and signed up, the third did the same a few days later.

You don’t have to be the one doing all the talking, actually you should be keeping your mouth shut as much as possible, let the prospects ask questions, and if you can get current supporters to pitch for you.

It works, why not give it a shot.

And, remember – less is more.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”

Sponsorship Revolution

Thought I had shared and talked about this before, New Sponsorship Revolution (Abby Clemence), if you’re in the charity sector and you haven’t read it, click now.

I’ve often said there are better ways that charity and business can “work” better together. With the right business connection, savings can be made, other income streams can be opened and more.

Read New Sponsorship Revolution now.

As usual your comments, thoughts or other are welcome.

Is there Competition in Sponsorships, Collaborations?

Something that I’ve been pondering (again) and something that was recently raised with me was the issue of whether you can have more than one sponsor for your organisation from the same “industry”?

I recall a few years ago when an organisation I was doing some work with had an approach from a professional service provider who wanted to get on board and help the organisation, but as there was already a sponsor from the same profession the CEO and Board were hesitant to accept the offer.

The company made several calls, sent numerous emails and eventually they were invited in for a meeting to further discuss what they wanted to offer; when it was suggested to them that their “competitor” was already a sponsor, all eyes lit up. Not the charity’s, but the reps from the business. They could see an opportunity, not selfishly, just an opportunity that could work toward something more favourable for the charity.

Eventually the company’s offer of support was accepted and they produced a great service offering to the charity and those who were benefiting from the work of the services provided by the charity – it was a win win.

A further win was when the two “competing” companies met at a black tie dinner and discussed how they could work together to further enhance the work of the charity.

They started working together to build on the work of the charity, they developed a new funding model and – they laid down a challenge to one another, an annual sports challenge between the two companies. This raised significant funds for the charity, raised morale within the two companies and created other opportunities.

So, to cut a long story short, don’t shut the door on an offer of support until you have sat and carefully looked at the offer from all angles. There’s more than likely positives to come from having “competition” in your sponsorship ranks.

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

How do you assess the value of your sponsorship offer?

Have been reading quite of lot on Infinity Sponsorship lately, and this post caught my eye as something that that merits sharing …

How to assess the value of your sponsorship offering

Abby Clemence, Managing Director of Infinity Sponsorship addresses some questions from non-profit sponsorship seekers in an attempt to unravel some of the complexities involved in assessing the value of sponsorship.

    1. When a not-for-profit organisation is seeking to engage a sponsorship partner, what is the best way to go about valuing their service, program, event or organisation prior to approaching a company or brand?

Sponsorship is a people business, which means in order to give yourself the best chance of success; you need to create a relationship with a company before you ask them for their investment.

Working out the value of your offering is probably the trickiest part of the sponsorship seeking process.  There are no hard and fast rules, and no widely upheld benchmark or central repository of information where sponsorship seekers can go to draw comparisons and contrasts to gauge the value of what they have to offer a sponsor.

Fortunately, or unfortunately this is the intrinsic nature of ‘partnership’ – a fantastic opportunity to create bespoke offerings that create win-win-win situations.  You win because your organisation receives much-needed funds, your corporate partner wins because they gain access to a previously untapped market and your supporters win because they receive greater benefits and services as a result of their alliance with you.

Continue reading here

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

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