Skip to main content

Five Tips for Recruiting Nonprofit Sponsors

Yesterday I talked about the power and ease of working with other nonprofits who serve as sponsors. I mentioned that when I worked at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) my four nonprofit sponsors were collectively worth more than $5 million a year to CMNH. That was more than 10 years ago and I’d be surprised if the current number for those four sponsors wasn't some multiple of $5 million.

So how do you recruit valuable nonprofit sponsors? Here’s five tips:
  1. Network, network, network. The initial contact with the American Legion came through Riley Hospital for Children, the CMNH member hospital in Indianapolis. Someone knew someone at the Legion headquarters there, and my predecessor sweet-talked, cajoled and weaseled his way towards the decision-makers, many of whom had had personal experience with Riley.
  2. A ‘no’ doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it just means not now. What I mean is that persistence is vital if you want to recruit new sponsors. So, too, is good-timing. Log-a-Load for Kids, long a campaign of the Forest Resources Association, at first was so grassroots it was almost formless. Before it could be a sponsor, Log-a-Load needed a little more organization. When the Forest Resources Association took the campaign under its wing, it was then positioned to be a CMNH sponsor. Before then it was too soon.
  3. Seek first to understand. Stephen R. Covey had it right. Before you can be understood, you must first seek to understand. You have to understand your would-be partner’s business and their points of pain. This applies not only to the company as a whole, but to influential people in the company. Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, had undergone a terrible scandal that shook the organization to the core and required a wrenching reorganization. One thing we came to understand about Foresters was that they very much needed and wanted publicity that painted the company in more positive light and boosted internal morale. Once we understood that we could develop a campaign that fit Forester’s needs and the needs of CMNH.
  4. Be prepared to play every angle. In recruiting a sponsor, CMNH would try anything that was ethical and legal. We’d play on emotions by showing videos of kids who were desperately sick but got better at a CMNH hospital. In communications with prospective sponsors our board members would play on their college, family, personal, or religious loyalties. If we thought they’d react to certain celebrities, we’d have them phone or write a letter. We’d invite them to tour their local children’s hospital or join us for the old Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. We’d visit them when we were in town and go to lunch or dinner. And, of course, we spent time talking about how children’s hospitals touched the lives of just about everyone via their family or friends. 
  5. Polish your presentations until they shine. CMNH had an executive who spent several years as an executive at the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Since the Olympics are sponsor-driven I asked him once what CMNH could learn from it. His response at the time was, ‘not much.’ In particular, he said that the presentation decks from CMNH surpassed those coming from the organizing committee. There was a reason for that. CMNH had a very specific cause marketing schema, or basic approach to cause marketing that could be applied in countless settings. Consequently, CMN’s presentation deck and most of its best presenters had been burnished to a high shine. You should write your presentations carefully then polish, polish and polish them some more.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Stock Index Dramatically Outperforms Other Indices

There are stock indexes galore; the Dow, S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, the Wilshire 5000, the FTSE, and hundreds more. But how would an index of the stocks of companies that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing perform compared to those well-known indexes? Pretty well, as it turns out.

I first floated the idea of a stock index that would track companies that do cause marketing back in 2009. I tried to figure out Yahoo Pipes so that I could put the feed right into this blog. But alas sometimes the geek gene does fall pretty far from the tree.

So I talked to programmers to see if I could find someone who could do the same, but it was always more than I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I hired a MBA student to do it all in a spreadsheet, and what do you know but that over the last 15 years a basket of 25 cause marketing stocks dramatically outperforms the Dow, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Wilshire 5000.

The index, which I call the Alden Keene Cause Market…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Pimping for Constant Contact

OK, not pimping really. More like a gentle noodge to nonprofits and the companies that love them that it’s time to start email marketing.

I was invited to a local presentation on email marketing from Constant Contact, the Waltham, Massachusetts email marketing outfit whose target market is small businesses and nonprofits.

They offer a cause-related marketing campaign called Care4Kids meant to benefit children’s causes. Constant Contact customers are invited to nominate worthy 501(c)(3) children’s charities to receive a free account along with the training to create an effective email campaign.

Non children’s charities are probably still eligible for charity discounts. If you’re outside the United States you might be able to induce Constant Contact to consider your cause. Alternately, you could suggest a similar program to email marketing vendors in your home country.

It goes without saying… I hope… that every nonprofit needs an email marketing component. Email marketing is a good deal lik…