The opportunity for non-profits to build relationships with companies is now very promising and will continue to be in the future. Companies of all sizes and types need non-profits to achieve their marketing and employee engagement goals. Most noteworthy, peer to peer fundraising campaigns are attractive to companies. Because peer to peer campaigns can support company’s marketing and employee engagement goals simultaneously.
In this second of a four part blog series we focus on how to approach companies. In part one we reviewed understanding company goals. Part three reviews the different opportunities a company partnership affords beyond sponsorship. Finally in part four we review how to build a plan to create and maintain a relationship with a company.
Here are some reminders about company goals.
- Remember companies are not involved out of the goodness of their heart.
- Companies want a marketing or employee engagement opportunity.
- Ask yourself: How can we help the company get a return on investment with our campaign?
- Your cause and campaign can provide companies with great marketing and employee engagement opportunities.
- Opportunities that are worth a significant investment by companies.
PART II: HOW TO APPROACH COMPANIES
How you approach a company is as important as knowing the goals of a company.
Start building your target list ten-twelve months before your campaign starts. Make first contact a minimum of nine months out. Lean on contacts to make an introduction or provide recommendations. Cold calling may be inevitability, but do what you can to create a warm lead.
First of all, relationship, relationship, and relationship: communicate this is your primary focus.
Communicate getting to know your neighbors and understanding if there is a mutually beneficial opportunity as the reason for connecting. It is important to create mutual benefit. Therefore, don’t over promise what you can offer a company.
When you got a reply to your inquiry ask to meet in person. Be flexible on meeting times and places. Offer to meet at their office or a neutral site. Give them a great excuse to get outside and out of the office.
1st Face-to-Face Meeting
Relationship first, money second: earn trust early and ask for money later.
Whenever you go in to talk to a company, you need to tell them what they get out of the deal. Focus on the benefit to them first to build trust and convey your focus on mutual benefit. Furthermore it is best you know as much as possible about the company’s goals.
Ask about the company’s needs in terms of making ties to the community, engaging employees and reaching customers or consumers. Understand the company’s consumer/customer goals by segment types (see below) not gross numbers. In addition ask these types of questions to understand a company’s internal employee goals.
To understand people segments focus on the major demographic and socio-economic groups:
- Demographic: type of neighborhood, age and gender
- Socio-economic: income and education
These types of people questions apply to all types of companies, large to small or public to private. Though you many want to ask less questions when talking with smaller organizations. In addition to understanding people segments these questions also help calculate a basic cost per consumer value (see below). Use this calculation for the specific segment(s) of your audience that is important to the company. This calculation should be shared with a company in addition to other benefits you will offer.
Cost per consumer = cost of sponsorship / # of consumer impressions
- Consumer impressions = # of website visits + event day attendance = 1000
- Cost of sponsorship = $500
- Cost per consumer = 50 cents
This type of information should be gathered through informal conversation, not questionnaires or surveys. Relationships are built over a cup of coffee/tea not spreadsheets.
The Follow Up
First of all send a thank you e-mail or note. Keep it short and simple, but reference at least one point your contact(s) shared during the meeting. If you met with three people at once, send three separate e-mails. No group e-mails.
Now you have gathered your info, its time to map the company’s goals with what you have to offer. Furthermore you may even consider doing something new with your campaign or event to attract a specific company. Update your proposal quantitatively and qualitatively. Balance your proposal with equal parts numbers and feeling. The maximum turnaround time from meeting to delivering back a proposal should be less than 3 weeks.
Remember to keep it short. In addition include pictures in your proposal to help bring your campaign to life. Also as a reminder view the proposal through the lens of what is important to the company: 1) Type of customer/consumer 2) Employee engagement. Upon completing the first draft of your proposal be sure to ask yourself or your peers, are we providing value to the company in these two areas. Once you have a final draft send your proposal to your contact(s) and schedule a follow up meeting or phone call.
Talk with potential partners to ensure your proposal hit the mark. Refine your proposal as needed. Your first few conversations may be uncomfortable or awkward. But over time you will become a seasoned pro with this approach. Most noteworthy you and your organization will earn respect from each company you engage.
At Blue Sky Collaborative our goal is to help you maximize the benefits of online peer-to-peer fundraising to achieve your mission. To learn more about our SWEET! platform and how we can help, visit our website www.blueskycollaborative.com or call us at (p) 800-330-4109 ext. 803.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- SWEET! software promotes our client’s brand and vision.
- We craft to the needs of the client, because you are unique.
- We collaborate to foster an organization’s success.
- We do not charge transaction fees on the dollars you and your fundraisers earn.
- We do not handle our clients’ money.
- Technology user friendliness is essential to fundraising success.
Blue Sky Collaborative is a peer to peer fundraising software developer and design services firm. Our SWEET! online peer to peer fundraising platform is ideal for any company, non-profit or school, large or small, that holds participant or pledge events: CSR, walk-a-thons, golf-a-thons, run-a-thons, any-a-thons. The company was founded in 2002.
At present thousands of people use Blue Sky Collaborative’s software to support events and campaigns of all types. Several hundred companies, non-profits and schools, in multiple languages, use Blue Sky Collaborative’s peer to peer fundraising software to raise tens of millions of dollars.
Blue Sky Collaborative has offices in Boston, MA and Southwestern CT.