5 Tips for Fundraisers to Build Strategic Corporate Partnerships
[Editor's note: This is the fourth and final part of a four-part series on the session "Building Strategic Corporate Partnerships" held at Fund Raising Day in New York June 8. Click here for part 1, here for part 2 and here for part 3.]
To wrap up the session "Building Strategic Corporate Partnerships" at Fund Raising Day in New York — presented by Venessa Mendenhall, vice president of strategic partnerships of New York Needs You; Melissa Kinckle, consulting delivery senior manager and director of corporate social responsibility at Bluewolf; Erica Hamilton, chief program officer of iMentor; and Lina Klebanov, deputy director of corporate social responsibility at Marsh & McLennan Cos. (MMC) — Klebanov shared these five tips for fundraisers when approaching a corporation such as MMC for a potential corporate partnership.
Do your homework
It's vital that you know as much as you possibly can about the corporation you are hoping to form a partnership with. After all, you are competing for those dollars and services with all the other organizations out there. If you insult a company by not knowing what it does and who it is, you are dead in the water.
"I'm amazed when potential grantees don't know what we do," Klebanov said. "Know our four companies. Know our product is our people. Do your homework on the company you are approaching."
Talk to your volunteers
The biggest stakeholders for many corporations when it comes to donating money or resources to a cause is their employees' volunteer efforts with that nonprofit. So it's always wise to talk to your volunteers and find out if they have any connections to the corporate world, and how to leverage that. Listen to your volunteers to not only make volunteer experiences the best they can possibly be, but also to unearth other opportunities, Klebanov said.
Network to network, not just ask
"Fundraising is the lifeblood of nonprofits, but when networking, we don't want to be seen as checkbooks," Klebanov said. "Passion is contagious. If you share that passion, it resonates, and that could eventually lead to a strong relationship."