3 Tips for Turning Your Corporate Sponsorship into a Lasting Partnership

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Posted on March 21, 2019 by Harbor Compliance in Nonprofit Compliance.

Congrats! You’ve just wrapped up your organization’s biggest charity event of the year. While it would be nice to put your feet up and relax, you’re likely already working on turning all of those attendees into recurring donors.

But what about your corporate sponsors? All too often, nonprofits drop these relationships until their next big event, which results in a huge missed opportunity. Instead of viewing an event sponsorship as the end goal, consider it as a first date. Use the momentum to develop an even deeper relationship. Here are three ways to engage your corporate sponsors post-event and create lasting partnerships.

1. Promote Your Corporate Donors

More than just mission, corporations are looking for organizations that can boost their reputation. In a crowded marketplace, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a great way for businesses to differentiate their brand among consumers. According to For Momentum’s 2015 Corporate Partner Survey, 92% of respondents said that brand alignment is the most important factor when selecting a nonprofit partner. While sponsoring events is a good start, companies are eager to secure opportunities with greater reach. Consider other ways to promote your partnership, such as:

  • Thanking donors and sponsors on your social media channels –it’s the #1 promotion ask of companies we work with at DonationMatch
  • Sharing content on social media and in your newsletters about the difference the company’s partnership has made for your organization
  • Offering opportunities for the company’s executives to participate on panels that highlight your relationship
  • Co-authoring blog posts or creating joint podcast episodes that help establish the company as a thought leader

2. Provide Opportunities for Employee Engagement

More and more companies are realizing that they need to consider all of their stakeholders, not just shareholders. One of these critical groups? Employees. Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey suggests that creating a culture of volunteerism can improve employee morale and workplace satisfaction. These, in turn, can positively influence  employee retention and recruiting efforts. However, most employees don’t get to attend the nonprofit events, such as galas, that their company sponsors. Think of ways to engage the entire workplace, such as:

  • Skill-based volunteering in which employees offer pro bono services to your organization over an extended period of time
  • Peer-to-peer programs that pair company employees with nonprofit staff members who fulfill similar roles at your organization
  • Lunch-and-learn series where different nonprofit staff members come to the company office and educate employees about cause-related issues

3. Measure Your Impact

While companies may not have strict reporting guidelines like foundations, the 2018 CECP Giving in Numbers reports that 9 out of 10 companies are measuring the social outcomes/impacts of their programs. It can be hard for a business to prove their impact when they’re supporting a single-day activation. As a result, corporations are motivated to have longer-term partnerships with nonprofits. Once you start engaging beyond the sponsored event, track the meaningful change the company is having by:

  • Scheduling quarterly check-ins to review your progress towards program goals
  • Administering surveys to employees about their experience with your organization
  • Sharing impact metrics as well as compelling success stories

By landing an event sponsorship, your organization already has a foot in the door. Don’t waste this opportunity to create a lasting relationship. While there is no one-size-fits-all model, keep these suggestions in mind when you follow up with your corporate sponsors. They are sure to be impressed by your consideration and understanding of their business priorities.

Renee Zau, Co-founder & CEO of DonationMatch

Renee started on fundraising committees nearly 20 years ago. All too familiar with the arduous process of securing auction donations for organizations and managing the cause marketing for a franchise she was involved with, she co-founded DonationMatch, a self-service platform that streamlines how donor companies and nonprofit organizations connect. The first of its kind, DonationMatch has facilitated more than $49 million worth of in-kind contributions to date. Over 10,000 organizations turn to DonationMatch as a simple, efficient way to procure donations for their fundraising events each year.

A native Californian, Renee resides in San Diego and is actively involved with local organizations like San Diego Social Venture Partners. In addition to running DonationMatch, Renee co-hosts the podcast Events with Benefits® and serves as Outreach Director for AMA San Diego’s annual Cause Conference.