How to bring in corporate sponsors

Your station can form positive and mutually beneficial sponsorships by following these five steps.
Date Published
03/10/2016

Many nonprofit radio stations have large donation lists of individual contributions, small-name companies, local mom & pop organizations and other charities that keep donation revenues flowing. However, one of the most important and often forgotten forms of fundraising is corporate donations and workplace donation pools. These corporate donors will take large lump sums and donate monthly or annually on behalf of the charity or station. Likewise, office-based companies can offer employees a small deduction from their paycheck as an automatic donation to the local station. How can charities and nonprofits organize these corporate donations? Is there a certain way to approach large corporate sponsorship? A charitable organization can develop a positive mutual sponsorship with a corporation and a new stream of revenue by following these five steps:

“Match your organization to the company in question.”

1. Build the right partnership
According to The Fundraising Authority, it is important to match the company in question and your radio station or nonprofit accordingly. For example, if your radio station speaks out for developmental disabilities in children, it would not be wise to go off-brand and partner with a large fashion company famous for elitism. Another example of inconsistent matching would be if the organization you’d like to partner with is too far away. This makes communications between you and your sponsor that much more difficult to maintain. By choosing the right corporate sponsor, your nonprofit will benefit and form a mutual relationship.

2. Find companies with a strong local presence
For any nonprofit, the goal is to help a community or group of individuals in need. One of the best ways to make a corporate partnership is to find a large, yet local corporation to partner with. For example, say that your nonprofit station typically speaks out for the homeless and veterans. Finding a corporation that also supports or employs veterans puts you at an advantage when you decide to create a sponsorship agreement.

Weighing out the pros and cons of a corporate sponsor can help you come to a decision.Weighing out the pros and cons of a corporate sponsor can help you come to a decision.

3. Develop entrepreneurial spirit
A nonprofit may not view itself as a brand or business leader, but it is important it does so to gain confident corporate sponsorships. According to About Money, a nonprofit should open itself up to an entrepreneurial spirit with a willingness to try new ideas. For example, a public broadcast station may have worked with the same corporate sponsor for many years. However, after noticing that ratings and donations have fallen by the wayside, it becomes important for the station to take on new ideas. When discussing a partnership and sponsorship with a corporate office, ask for their ideas and equally implement yours. By showing a willingness to learn, the corporation will be more willing to partner with you.

“Your corporate sponsor sees your organization as positive PR.”

4. Conduct meetings face-to-face
In the digital age, it is common for meetings to take place online or over video conference. Yet if a nonprofit truly wants to show it is worthy of attention and sponsorship, it must conduct facilitation meetings in person. Choose a representative at your station or organization with the best public speaking skills and a knowledge of business negotiations. A strong-willed individual will be able to sway the opinions of a corporate or business sponsor more easily in person than over the phone or in video conference. 

5. Provide real-time results
Many corporate sponsors want to see the results of their sponsorship in real-time. In their minds, it is not only charitable giving, but a chance for positive public relations on their behalf and a possible new audience to reel in as consumers. According to the Nonprofit Times, offering your sponsor the opportunity to underwrite themselves during your broadcast or sponsor a local event and analytics tools to see how their brand performs while working with you. If possible, let them post a guest blog for your organization or other forms of content such as video marketing. These tactics will help expose both your station and the sponsor at hand.

By following the advice above, a nonprofit station can gain new corporate sponsorships and steady streams of revenue.

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