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Four types of Corporate Funding: Resources for Nonprofits

1. Just Because:

Some companies might donate to your nonprofit because it’s the “right thing to do”, because they’ve always done it, or because the CEO has communicated that he/she believes in it. the best way to get in good with this company is to find a way to move the emotions of the CEO and enlist his/her support.

Examples: companies that only support the United Way.

2. Brand Awareness & Exposure:

Companies that have highly visible products that require broad exposure to break through the clutter will want to sponsor events and see and be seen. If you have an event that attracts a lot of people or you have a deep network, you’ll be more successful in approaching these companies for event sponsorship (not necessarily donations).

Examples: McDonald’s or Nike.

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3. Impact Focused Giving/Strategic Philanthropy:

Some companies are very purposeful in their giving and want to see a real impact. You’ll stand a better chance of getting funding if you have a specific program that engages the employees of these companies or appeals to the company’s motivation to make an impact. For example:

•       In-house mentoring programs that engage employees with in-need students in a long-term manner
•       Programs that aim to solve social ills, not just treat them
•       Initiatives that are very focused in their giving (e.g. helping teachers specifically, not just supporting education)
•       Nonprofits that help populations that at first look seem outside of the
company’s interests: such as water purification projects in lesser-developed countries

Examples: OfficeMax and Northrup Grumman.

4. Relationship & Reputation Building:

Companies understand that a positive reputation in their local community is paramount for its bottom line. Therefore, it’s important to remember that your board or nonprofit has to offer they company something important to THEM: a way to develop relationships with key stakeholders. If you have a solid board – or you want one – try to recruit executives from these types of companies – they’ll want to engage with you and they will likely offer some type of financial support.

Examples: public utility companies and Microsoft.