4 Reasons to Start Forming Corporate Partnerships for Next Year… RIGHT NOW!
No question about it… fall is a busy time of year with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Year End. But it’s also the perfect time to start forming your Corporate Partnerships – and here are 4 reasons why.
From Shellie Speer, Executive VP / Client Strategic Development, Brewer Direct
Here’s the yin-yang of serving your community: As a nonprofit, you have a pulse on the needs of your community, with insights, framework and the capacity to relieve those conditions. But… it takes substantial financial and in-kind gifts to operate at your full potential.
In the pool of all your potential donors, corporations may not be top of mind. Partly that’s because developing Corporate Partners can seem awfully mysterious. The process isn’t a straight line – there’s often no clear path on when/how to approach them, develop a relationship, and finally, turn them into advocates and donors for your cause.
Corporate Partners should be top of mind – especially right now!
Corporations are part of your community and as such, many feel a responsibility to give back through supporting nonprofits that seek solutions to issues that are challenging to their employees, but also, their neighbors, clients and customers.
There’s another huge upside to developing these partnerships: Corporations have plenty to give! Just look at these stats from 2017:
- Corporate giving grew by 8% to $20.8 billion (5% of all donations)
- 9 out of 10 companies match employee donations – an estimated $2-3 billion is donated through these programs annually
- 61% of companies have paid-release time for employees who participate in volunteer programs
- Around $6-10 billion dollars goes unclaimed from corporations each year from matching gifts alone
So there are a lot of great reasons why nonprofits and corporations are a match made in heaven. In return for providing a variety of vital resources, the company benefits by creating a favorable public image and positive employee morale – and in some cases, a tax advantage – while supporting the community infrastructure so the business can succeed.
The best time to start developing these relationships is now, just when the holiday season is right around the corner and your organization is increasingly busy. Because of that, you may be tempted to put off this kind of planning until the new year.
Here are 4 reasons why you should start forming corporate partnerships now:
1. CORPORATIONS ARE PLANNING FOR NEXT YEAR… NOW.
Many businesses work on a calendar year and make final decisions around October or November about which charities they’ll support during the upcoming year.
What happens so often is that an organization starts working on these corporate relationships in spring or summer to ask for a gift in the fall. And by that time, businesses have finalized their annual charitable giving for the year… or they’ve already determined to give your charity the same amount as the previous year and you missed out on a chance to upgrade the gift.
2. CORPORATE PARTNERS ARE VALUABLE EVENT SPONSORS.
You may not be thinking about your calendar of events for next year yet… but chances are, most businesses are already looking for next year’s sponsorship opportunities.
Since corporate sponsors are looking to give back to their communities while also looking for new business, customers or positive PR, sponsoring your event can provide the perfect forum for them!
If you’re a little rusty at reaching out to corporations, here’s an easy approach: Identify local corporations that have sponsored you in the past, or seem likely to appreciate your particular programs and services. They should be your primary focus, at least to start.
As Network for Good notes, “That means you should lead with ‘Here’s what we can do for you – let’s make this win-win happen together,’ not ‘Here’s our sponsorship package – please support us.’ You need to demonstrate value to them.”
Start now to give your organization lots of lead time to determine how best to get these businesses involved with your upcoming events.
3. CORPORATE MATCHES CAN BE A HUGE SOURCE OF SUPPORT.
Nearly 65% of large companies and 30% of small to midsize companies offer corporate matching programs. Each time an employee donates to a nonprofit, the company pledges to give the same amount to the same organization. It’s a great way for businesses to reward their employees’ generosity and easily give back to a number of charitable causes – and obviously, it doubles the funds for your organization!
In addition, corporations are great allies for providing the matching funds for your fundraising campaigns throughout a given year. Research shows that the most effective time to use a matching gift is year-end; but you could also consider getting a corporate matching gift for a high-profile day like #GivingTuesday in November (last year, $274 million was raised – see more on that here).
Start now to find more corporate match partners for a strong beginning next January – and take advantage of the millions that go unclaimed each year for your organization!
4. CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
Companies often encourage and even provide incentives for their employees to volunteer, especially with other work colleagues. Forbes reports that corporate volunteer programs are growing in popularity and have benefits like improved team collaboration and employee engagement in their daily tasks.
With only 33% of workers reporting that they feel engaged with their job, and over 50% of job searchers looking for a company with a strong commitment to social impact, it’s never been more important to provide employees with a way to make a difference at work.
Start now to find companies that offer paid release-time for volunteering and/or speak with current volunteers who may be able to connect you to their employers. Offer regular volunteer opportunities at your organization to get them engaged with your cause for more than a day. It’s a great idea to present a variety of unique opportunities for corporate groups, and if at all possible, try to incorporate their professional skills to make volunteering a more meaningful experience.
Bottom line: Start engaging new Corporate Partners… now!
Local business partnerships will offer you the chance to bring in more funds and more people who will engage with your cause, creating the balance between funding and service to carry out the work of your nonprofit to its full potential. That’s a win for your organization… your corporate partners… and most importantly, the community you serve.
Learn how to maximize your #GivingTuesday – download our free checklist with our best tips and strategies for this day of giving back!
Does your organization need expert guidance in forming new corporate partnerships or reviving existing ones? Shellie is ready to help! Get in touch with Brewer Direct’s Executive VP Client Strategic Development Shellie Speer by clicking here.
Tell us what you love about your corporate partners @brewerdirect!