The American Heart Association and Macy’s have teamed up to support the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign to fight heart disease in women. By taking “fashion to the heart,” Macy’s encourages customers to shop for items that support the Go Red for Women movement and has made a Go Red for Women video that support the American Heart Association’s PSAs. Since 2004, Macy’s employees and customers have raised more than $24 million for the campaign.
Since 85 percent of Americans look at a business in a more positive light when itsupports a cause they care about, companies often are willing to sponsor nonprofit events. So how can you find a corporate partner? American Heart Association’s PSAs. Since 2004, Macy’s employees and customers have raised more than $24 million for campaign.
Before you jump into asking for event sponsorship, make sure your nonprofit is prepared for that kind of relationship. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have solid marketing practices in place that will benefit your event as well as your corporate sponsor?
- What do your organization’s supporter demographics look like, and what kind of company would want to reach your audiences?
- Have you worked with corporate sponsorships before? Can you get any testimonials?
- What’s the competition? Are there other nonprofits like yours vying for corporate sponsorships?
Create a potential sponsor list of 15 to 30 potential companies with whom you would want to partner, and start to build relationships with these organizations. Just as you would court your donors, court these potential company sponsors. Get to know the organization, and figure out its priorities. Who has it supported in the past? What kind of qualities does it value? The Cause Marketing Forum, which connects businesses and nonprofits, is a good place to start.
Establish a meeting with a company representative and explain why you’re interested in partnering with the organization. Don’t just talk about the importance of your cause — show that you’ve done your research. Explain why your organization is a good fit for their company, and be specific about what you’re looking for out of the event sponsorship. For example, Microsoft donates its money, software and volunteer hours to help support the Boys and Girls Club as part of its corporate citizenship. If you’re looking to build more than a financial relationship, let your potential sponsor know.
Lastly, remember that partnership is a two-way street. Explain what you can bring to the table. Identify your nonprofit’s successes that align with the company values, and show why event sponsorship is a good marketing technique for the organization.
There are plenty of reasons a company would want to give back to the community, and many businesses are looking and evaluating which organizations they should support. Work to form relationships with businesses that would be interested in supporting your organization, and take the steps needed to form a relationship that can further both your cause and their corporate marketing interests.