Non-profits have little room for error when developing relationships with corporate partners. Corporates are keen on their reputation and the value for their money.
Therefore, before committing to your organization for a partnership for their CSR needs, corporates have to understand the enlightened self-interest of the entire program. Enlightened self-interest is the benefit received in kind by a brand after engaging in charitable work.
Here are some of the key mistakes to avoid during your fundraising if you are to develop a working relationship with a corporate organization.
Laxity in cultivation
In my conversations with people not familiar with fundraising, I realized that most think it’s just a matter of registering the organization and wealthy donors, and corporates will look for you. Do not make this assumption no matter how big your organization has grown. Set out to interact with the potential donors. When fundraising in the corporate world, this might require more aggressiveness because of bureaucracy and rigidity. Consequently, just because you have a good cause, it doesn’t mean that donors will dish out money to you. You have to convince and show that they also need to be part of the project and how it fits their profile.
Despite the meticulous characteristics of the relationship, let not these stringent requirements lead to your loss of control for the project. Remember that the fundraising message is your prerogative while the brands mandate it to reinforce the message.
Your level of research shows itself in the kind of knowledge that you display about the topic being discussed. Research is conducted not only on the problem and the solution, but it has to examine profiles of stakeholders. For a fundraiser, due-diligence about the donor you are approaching should be conducted to determine their interests. Such details might help you push your cause successfully. Wouldn’t it be disastrous on your part approaching a dog-lover to fund your cats’ project?
No feedback, poor communication
We have already pointed out that the mandate of the brand is to reinforce the cause’s message. It doesn’t mean the brand cannot be part of other activities. As a fundraiser, it is in my interest to ensure that I involve the brand representatives in the entire process. Feedback about the impact of their contribution is also vital. Also, be appreciative of their contributions and THANK them for being part of the project. It creates a better chance of reactivating this relationship and retaining the brand as donors for future/other projects.
I would feel awkward if you approached me to help you without you specifying where my input will be necessary. So don’t go to fundraise because it is for a ‘good-cause.’ Non-profits fundraise from corporate with specific requests. For example, I would not hope that the CEO of a firm would automatically become the major-gifts without asking him/her to become one.