Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the process by which a company contributes to its community’s well-being by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. In 2017, that role is growing, and the relationship between companies and the nonprofits they support is changing.
We no longer seek the kind of paternal checkbook philanthropy that once defined the one-way transactional relationship between corporations and nonprofits. Now both nonprofits and companies are seeking a transformative, collaborative relationship that will have a collective positive impact on their communities.
Nikki Daruwala, NDpoint Strategies’ founder and president, helps nonprofits and socially responsible companies navigate this exciting new world.
How can a nonprofit approach a potential corporate sponsor?
First, Nikki advises, conduct some research. Map connections and relationships. Find out whether the targeted company has supported similar organizations.
Second, know the company’s priorities and take a look at its projects. Listen! Explore how your nonprofit can help the company and how the company can help you. Engage with powerful testimonials and concrete ideas that can truly help the community and all stakeholders involved.
Finally, take care to carefully craft and time the “ask.” Keep it simple, direct—and mutually beneficial. Be sure to have an answer to the obvious response: What’s in it for each of our organizations? Be prepared to answer a host of questions: Does this fit with our mission, values and goals? What type of exposure will we get? Who are the other sponsors and supporters? Is this an exclusive arrangement? What are the mutual tangible and intangible benefits? Is there flexibility to customize or is there rigidity within the pre-determined sponsorship levels? How will the opportunity be leveraged within communities and stakeholders?
Even before reaching out to the potential sponsor, internal organization is critical. Nikki Daruwala encourages nonprofits to figure out answers to these questions:
- WHO is the right person to do the outreach?
- WHAT is your ask?
- WHEN is the right time to make the ask?
- WHY should they listen?
- HOW will the ask be made?
Engaging corporate sponsors in this new way goes way beyond asking for a check.
Nikki Daruwala, NDpoint Strategies’ founder and president, is a dynamic consultant with exceptional leadership and operational skills coupled with an unwavering commitment to excellence. With a career spanning more than two decades, Nikki brings vision, dedication and expertise to help organizations grow and transition their missions and operations. She’s able to provide both directional guidance and hands-on support. Nikki has stepped in to run organizations in transition; helped nonprofits achieve and exceed their fundraising goals; supported early-stage entrepreneurs in developing robust strategic business plans; created streamlined and effective operational systems at associations; refined and advanced corporate responsibility assessments, policies and partnerships for businesses; and led strategic planning at nonprofits to help them gain clarity on their mission, while creating innovative programs to support their needs. Visit http://www.ndpointstrategies.com/ to learn more.