Help! How Do I Get a Company to Sponsor My Nonprofit?

“I am a fundraiser/grant writer and I’m preparing an email to request funding from a large corporate company. Do you have any examples that can help me?

In my experience, no two nonprofits or large corporations are the same. As a result, I don’t have general examples. Instead, because I’m invested in your long term success, I will share a 3-part system I’ve found to be effective.

Step 1: Get your foot in the RIGHT door. Do your homework to identify the company contact most likely to respond the same day with an enthusiastic “YES. This is a great opportunity to leverage simple, smart fundraising software. Conduct a quick search to determine if any employees are existing donors. If there is no clear entrance, the default selection is both organization’s highest level of leadership. You want a one-way ticket to the decision-maker.

Step 2: Right-size your recognition opportunities and be generous. Make a list of what you can easily offer and think of ways to increase the frequency. For example, you could offer a branded thank you post on social media on the 15th of each month for the remainder of this year.

Ideally, you will have an opportunity to schedule a call and learn more about the company’s marketing goals. Listen and do not hesitate to get creative. For the foreseeable future, flexible funder focused nonprofits will be the front runners.

Step 3: Get to the point. Two unfortunate side effects of prolonged exposure to stress is an inability to focus and make decisions. To increase your chance of success, be crystal clear on the purpose and urgency of your request. Follow-up by phone to answer any questions and gain a better understanding of the company’s marketing goals.

Given the widespread need for short and increasingly long term support, your email is one of 300 funding requests your contact will receive today.  Focus on building long-term partnerships by understanding the company’s goals. After you hit send, think of how you can customize this email for similar future requests. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!

Ask a Fundraising Coach is Network for Good’s weekly advice column, where Personal Fundraising Coach Andrea Holthouser tackles your toughest challenges in the world of fundraising, nonprofit management, donor relations, and more.

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