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What’s In It For Me?

Businesses budget dollars for marketing, advertising, sponsorships and charitable gifts.  As a non-profit seeking donations, it’s helpful to recognize and capitalize on their luxury of options. 

An initial barrier to overcome with a prospective business donor is their ”what’s in it for me” position.  So, what IS in in for them, and how can charities motivate and inspire businesses to give?

In our favor, charitable gifts are often budgeted line items, not a contribution directly from an individual’s pocket.  Also, business leaders may want to cultivate their business identity as a progressive leader, positive influence and valuable community asset. This can be  be accomplished  through involvement and financial support for a visible charitable project, rather than traditional advertising.

What are some strategies to “employ” for these employers?

First, define your project and need.  Your charity must state a specific and compelling case. Business donors respond more readily to clearly defined and articulated needs. They want to see outcomes, measure their investment and evaluate the value of their participation and support.

Prepare your business plan. Business leaders are trained to evaluate need, review strategies for solutions and measure financial success based on impact and costs.  They will not be motivated by merely a conceptual solution, but rather by a well researched, detailed plan.

Measure the impact.  Business people naturally pay attention to costs that adversely impact their profitability and/or employees. Can your non-profit provide educational benefits?  Lower costs?  Increase productivity?  Determine how best you can support their needs, then clearly articulate that in your ask.   

By involving top community business leaders in your non-profit, you provide access and the opportunity to present your case to the decision makers. But you must ask to be successful.  The key is face to face meetings. Focus on their issues first, then determine how your organization can help meet their needs in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Corporate charitable giving remains a solid value of the American culture. Our forefathers demonstrated remarkable generosity and leadership in giving through noteworthy examples of community support.  Even today, businesses continue to be a valuable resource not to overlook in your development efforts.

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