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10 Reasons to Partner with a Nonprofit

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This article is written by guest author Mazarine Treyz, creator of The Ultimate Guide to A Bigger Sponsorship course and founder of WildWomanFundraising.com, a popular fundraising blog with 50,000 monthly readers.

Hey there! It’s almost time for Giving Tuesday. Why should your business participate? What do you stand to gain?

Good question! What can a nonprofit partnership give you?

1. Increase sales of products or services. According to the Edelman Insights Brandshare 2014 study, consumers who feel that a company is meeting societal needs will purchase more often, recommend it to others more often, and share your content more often.

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2. Increase employee engagement, job satisfaction, and reduce turnover. In their 2005 research on the HR case for employee volunteerism, the Points of Light foundation found that employees that volunteer for a cause through their job have increased retention, saving companies money every year.

3. Increase customer and brand loyalty.  Are you rolling out some new products? According to the Edelman GoodPurpose 2015 survey, if your business is trying to innovate, people will trust you more if you partner with an NGO or academic institution. Trust equals loyalty.

4. Attract the best employees through community involvement. If your corporation has a high profile at fun community events, you’ll be getting a wider pool of people wanting to work for you.

5. Increase community goodwill by having your leadership and company recognized for the good they do in society. Don’t believe me? Here’s 2012 research that shows consumers will praise brands for their perceived community responsibility, and punish them for a lack of social responsibility.

6. Increase shareholder return. How can partnering with a nonprofit increase shareholder return? Because if consumers trust you more and buy from you more, and you have less staff turnover, you’re making more money AND saving your company money. All of that adds up!

7. Reach new markets and new customer demographics. When I was working at a nonprofit that served African-American youth, Nike wanted to sponsor us. Why? Because they often look to this community to show them what’s new and fresh.

8. Increase employee skill development, teambuilding and leadership skills. For example I taught a webinar for VolunteerMatch with a person who manages the Charles Schwab volunteering program. (Charles Schwab is an investment and financial services company). She talked about a successful partnership that they had with Boys and Girls clubs, because they could have employees come in to teach teens and young adults about financial literacy. This helped their employees feel like they were using their strengths to help people, and doing something more meaningful than painting a fence.

9. Draw media attention and coverage for free. When I worked at a chapter of a national nonprofit, a corporation worked hard to partner with us so that they could pay for us to have interns, and then feature those interns in their annual report, to highlight their commitment to diversity. That was something they really wanted to emphasize. It certainly gave them the media exposure they wanted.

10. Attract new business partners and relationships. When you’re involved in a nonprofit event, you’ve got a chance to go around and network with other businesses in your area, who are also sponsoring, and start to create relationships and partnerships with them.

Ok, that’s the upside. But what’s the DOWNSIDE?

If you are trying to partner with nonprofits, you may feel frustrated. Does this sound like you?

“Why do they move so slow?”

“How can I get someone to call me back in a timely way?”

“They are so disorganized! How can I find out what the sponsorship benefits are?”

Nonprofits are not necessarily as nimble as corporations would like them to be. But as you can see, when a nonprofit and corporation DO partner, it can be a tremendous boost for the corporation.

3 questions to ask before you partner with a nonprofit 

So, when you’re thinking about which nonprofits to partner with, ask yourself these three questions.

1. What does your staff want to do?

When it comes to your internal markets, how does that drive how you pick a nonprofit to be involved with?

Hey, we get it.

You want to test drive a nonprofit, have people volunteer a bit before you decide to sponsor. So, in that case, you want to pick a volunteer opportunity and cause that will keep your employees happy. Employee turnover is a serious cost for a company, so you’ll have the best results if you already have a volunteer from the company working with this nonprofit and evangelizing to other employees about how fun it is to volunteer there.

2. What are your employees good at?

You’ll also have better results if you’ve got an opportunity specifically hand-picked to utilize your employees strengths.

3. What is a natural fit with your marketing priorities?

Now what mission or programs relate to your employees, products and services?

What mission or programs relate to your consumer market? 

For example, REI has a policy to partner with nonprofits that get kids outside, naturally figuring that if they can get kids used to associating REI with fun outdoor activities, they’ll make lifetime consumers. 

Want more tips on partnering with a nonprofit for Giving Tuesday? Check out ImpactFlow’s Business Guide to Giving Tuesday. It’s a free toolkit full of real-life examples, scalable ideas for companies of all sizes, and social media resources. 

For more from author Mazarine Treyz visit Wild Woman Fundraising

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