The Most Major of Major Gifts
Transformational gifts aren’t just coming from wealthy individuals these days. Corporate America is taking note of what’s been going on in the nonprofit sector. Nurturing mutually beneficial corporate relationships is a stepping-stone to transformational gifts. Corporate philanthropy — and cultivating the relationships that drive it — is most often an extension of the marketing department.
Corporate support often is driven by self-interest in terms of the corporation’s brand name in the marketplace. A growing trend has corporations inching their way into the nonprofit marketplace with what many call strategic partnerships. In return, the business gets brand-name prominence on a significant property.
In 2006, for example, insurance provider Nationwide pledged $50 million to the Columbus Children’s Hospital’s expansion project. The hospital was renamed the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and the Nationwide name is featured prominently on the main building, the hospital’s letterhead and its Web site.
The number of high-profile properties available for brand-name promotion is decreasing; that scarcity is an asset the nonprofit sector should treasure and not be in a hurry to give away at the first sign of a big check.
Transformational gifts will continue on. The mystery is we don’t know exactly when and where the next one will land and which nonprofit organization will be the joyous beneficiary. The question is, are you doing everything you possibly can to increase your chances of being that organization? FS
Terry Burton is founder and president of Vancouver, B.C.-based fundraising consultancy Dig In Research.
Related story: 5 Things You Can Do to Encourage Transformational Gifts