In my past 2 ½ years at Boulder County AIDS Project the area of fundraising that has been the most challenging has been with corporate giving. Based on what I hear and what I read amongst other fundraisers I am not alone. On the other hand, I definitely do not embrace the doom and gloom scenario frequently discussed when talking about corporate giving.
All those who know more about these kinds of things than I do say that corporate giving has decreased. In many cases, corporate giving is still there, just very more specific, which may not include as many organizations as in the past.
As we continue to solicit the large, national companies, we have also been working on a plan to work more closely with local businesses and the success has been eye awakening. I think it is easy to look over local businesses, especially if you work for a huge non-profit. Don’t do it. Relationships with small, local businesses are just as valuable as a relationship with a large, national entity.
I suggest starting relationships in your own area with local businesses. When I was in hotel sales I would draw a circle on a map around a one-mile area from the hotel. You could do the same with your agency.
I am actually starting to think about business relations all over as I begin my new adventure. The first thing I need to do as I get settled in is to find a great coffee shop near the office and a great lunch place (already found the lunch place). Two business relationships right there. In my past position I built relationships with two local coffee places, both ended up becoming major donors.
We all frequent different businesses. Partner with them. Show them that partnering with your non-profit is not only an amazing thing to do but will also help grow their business.
The relationship all starts with you!
What can I do today? Make sure the people at your favorite coffee or tea place know that you fundraise for your agency and know the mission of your agency. The more they know about you and your organization the better.