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Tools for Nonprofits

How to get corporate sponsors for your nonprofit.

July 13, 2023

Getting corporate sponsors to donate to your nonprofit or sponsor your next fundraising event might not be the first thing on your to-do list. (Especially if you’re a small to medium sized nonprofit.) But, it can be worth the time.

Maybe you were googling “creative ways to raise money” or maybe a local business reached out or maybe someone you know in the nonprofit sector suggested you look into it. However you ended up here, one thing we can say for sure is that getting businesses to sponsor your nonprofit is a good idea.

It might seem like just one more thing to add to you to-do list, but the initial effort will likely pay off. We know, making time for a whole new revenue stream is easier said than done, but once your initial pitch is ready to go and you’ve selected a few businesses to approach, the possibilities are worth the time. There are so many businesses out there that have money set aside for charitable purposes, companies you could partner with—if your values align.

Okay, let’s go over some tips for finding and securing corporate sponsors and donors for your nonprofit. (And, of course, share some examples and templates.)

Before you start asking businesses to sponsor your nonprofit...

Before you make your first phone call, send your first email, or make your first visit, make sure you spend some time developing your corporate sponsorship presentation. Having everything in place will help you feel more confident, get to know the business(es) you want to approach, and better understand the needs of your nonprofit.

1. Create your sponsorship levels.

Sit down with your team and board and come up with a few (three-ish) different sponsorship levels. These levels should represent a range of financial realities, work within the capabilities and needs of your nonprofit and be as detailed as possible.

Your sponsorship levels should include:

2. Come up with a list of potential businesses that may be interested in sponsoring your nonprofit.

Before you start contacting businesses, spend some time working on a list of potential sponsors. It helps to find companies that are aligned with your nonprofit organization’s values and mission.

Consider reaching out to your network of friends, family and other nonprofits. Board members, volunteers, staff, donors, anyone who is regularly involved in supporting your cause. Each of them has their own network you can tap into in order to find businesses that would be willing to sponsor your nonprofit.

You can even send out a group email (Thanks Zeffy!) within your organization asking them to reach out to businesses in your community and beyond.

3. You know everything there is to know about your nonprofit, learn everything there is to know about the businesses you’re approaching for sponsorship. AKA: show up prepared.

When in doubt, Google it! Take advantage of free online tools – like search engines –available to you in order to find a research your potential corporate sponsors. Visit their store(s), ask around about them, try their product, read their reviews. Get to know the businesses you’re reaching out to before you reach out to them. #beprepared

4. Find a local volunteer who knows the area and the businesses to help your nonprofit.

Maybe you’ve contacted all the businesses you know in your area, maybe your nonprofit is hosting an event in a new town or city, or maybe you’re just looking to expand your nonprofit’s reach—whatever the reason, try to find a volunteer who lives in the area to be your local ambassador.

Asking someone who already lives in area you are targeting will ensure that you can be more efficient with coordinating local partnerships.

5. Put your sponsorship proposal together. (Don’t worry, we walk you through how to write a sponsorship proposal.)

If you can, we reco. putting your sponsorship proposal together in google slides, powerpoint or keynote. It’s a more visual approach that will make it easier for potential sponsors to flip through, while acting as a visual reminder for your peer-to-peer event.

We’ve whipped up a step-by-step guide to help you create your sponsorship proposal:

Download our sponsorship proposal template for Google Slides. (English only.)

Remember to make the presentation as professional-looking as possible. Use your nonprofit organization’s logo and brand colours. Personalize it for each business as much as you can. And, review your sponsorship proposal for clarity, grammar, and consistency. (Ask for feedback before you start sending it out.)

6. A corporate sponsor just doesn’t fit your nonprofit’s values? We’ve got some alternatives in mind.

Instead of trying to seek out corporate sponsors for your events, opt for local talents to support your cause.

You could ask local artists to donate pieces of artwork for a silent auction, enlist local musicians to perform at your nonprofit’s next fundraising event or charity concert, or see if a local professional athlete can attend or co-host your next event to attract more donors. The fundraising possibilities are endless!

Now, go find your nonprofit’s next sponsor!

The last bit of advice we can give you is to just be authentic. After all, you want to appeal to businesses that fully support your cause. By being genuine and personal in your one-on-one communications with businesses, you will not only convince them to help you because of the good work your organization does, but because of the authentic, passionate commitment of those who are part of it.

We’ve got more tools that break down how to get companies to sponsor you and your nonprofit.

Peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit: How to get companies to sponsor you.

Peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit: How to write a sponsorship proposal.

Peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit: How to write a letter looking for sponsorship.

Peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit: How to make a one-page leave behind.

Oh, and remember to say thank you!