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Getting Businesses Involved with Your Nonprofit

Building relationships with businesses can be a major challenge for nonprofits everywhere. However, there are a few ways to simplify the process, and foster positive, long-term relationships.

A great way to bring a community together and promote your nonprofit organization is to partner with a local business. Business involvement can include a range of actions, from monetary donations to skilled volunteers conquering more in a few hours than traditional, non-trained volunteers. Getting a company involved can be difficult, and many nonprofits have difficulty interacting with them. Despite good intentions and a desire to help their community through your nonprofit, there is still one question they want answered before committing to your organization. Businesses want to know how working with your nonprofit will benefit them. This is where most organizations have trouble. You can have the greatest nonprofit organization out there, but businesses are not individuals; they will not always give out of the kindness of their heart. This raises the question of how to get the volunteers, donations, or partnerships you want while still benefiting them.

Here are a few ideas regarding how to pitch to a local business:StockSnap_5JE3UK74TH

  • Make sure individual donors check to see if their company participates in matching charitable donations
    • About 65% of large companies and about 28% of small to mid-size companies will match the charitable donations of their employees. Each year, billions of corporate matching gifts go unclaimed. Send a thank you note to new donors and include a reminder to ask about their company matching program.
  • Employee volunteering day
    • Ask a local business to have a group of employees get together on a day off and volunteer for your nonprofit. Around 60% of companies offer paid time off for employees to volunteer with their peers, meaning that this may not even be limited to a weekend activity. Skills-based volunteerism tends to outperform traditional volunteerism and can actually add value to training programs and develop leadership skills throughout the company.
  • Host a raffle
    • A small donation from individuals goes into the raffle and a local business gives away a coveted prize. Your nonprofit receives the donations and the business gets advertising. Try to pair up with a business that has a similar goal. For example, if you collect food for low-income families and the homeless, the raffle prize could be a gift card to a nearby grocery store.
  • Ask businesses to host an event at the office
    • If a business has a lot of customers coming in and out of the building, bringing your nonprofit to them is a great way to cross-advertise. A great example of this is the Charleston Animal Society’s Business Ambassadors program. A business will sign up to foster an animal in the office and show it off to their clients. This opens up a new category of people seeing the adoptable pet while also getting the animal out of the shelter to socialize.

Find a local business that has products or services that coincide with your vision. For example, Habitat for Humanity often works with local banks that provide mortgage loans. Small, local businesses are typically easier to enter into a relationship with; larger corporations have many nonprofits chasing after them because they are more well-known and it is assumed that they are more willing to give larger sums of money and support. Just because the business is large does not mean they are more willing to give!

Always make sure you inform the business you want a relationship with how working with your nonprofit will help them. Let them know of the benefits to employees, the team-building experiences, and how great it will look to their customers when they can showcase that relationship. Enter a meeting or phone call prepared with statistics, such as a survey stating that 82% of employees want an opportunity to volunteer with coworkers in a corporate-sponsored event. Or, that, per Project ROI, company turnover reduces by 50% when there are social responsibility programs – just like yours! – available to the employees.

While these are some ideas that have worked for other organizations, it may not necessarily work for yours. Decide on a business and think about what you could do together that is customized to fit both your needs. With good ideas and facts to back you up, attaining more corporate involvement is a snap!

*Statistics obtained from charities.org.

By: Katie Kelderman, Social Media Strategist