Speed Dating With Corporate Partners

Trying to obtain a corporate sponsorship can feel a little like a first date: exchanging pleasantries and asking what they do, all while trying to figure out if this is someone you could see yourself with long-term. While trying to find the perfect corporate sponsor, there are a few simple tips you can follow to ensure the first date goes well and leads to wedding bells sooner rather than later.

During a session at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference, Shiree Skinner, director of Resource Development at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, discussed the elements involved in creating a sponsorship that is beneficial for both parties. In “Corporate Sponsorships: Nonprofit Donation vs. Corporate Marketing,” Skinner noted that:

  • The Internal Revenue Service states that business should be “substantially related to the charitable, education, or other purpose that is the basis of the organization’s exemption” for corporate involvement and donations to be considered a sponsorship.
  • Different types of sponsorships include special events, naming rights for buildings, pro-bono services, and affinity programs.
  • Involving your finance team early allows for legal, tax-deductible language to be used in acknowledgment letters.
  • Create a mutually beneficial partnership by providing sponsored media ads, endorsements, or tickets to special events.
  • Report back to your corporate sponsors. Let them know how many items were sent, a list of media stories, and your readership/listenership stats. This allows sponsors to see how their contribution is helping your organization as well as spreading their own message.
  • Hold a conference or meeting after your event to get feedback from your sponsors.