Social Impact Insights
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Nonprofit sponsorships are a great way for companies to give back while also helping to build their brand, but oftentimes, companies struggle to find the right nonprofit to sponsor. Briefly, sponsorships involve the sponsor giving the receiving organization money, goods, or services in exchange for marketing or advertising of some kind. For example, the sponsor may pay the nonprofit, and in exchange, the nonprofit may put the sponsor’s brand name and logo in all advertising for their next event.
Sponsorships benefit all involved, but that doesn’t mean you should accept every sponsorship opportunity that comes along, even if you can afford it. Choosing the wrong nonprofit to sponsor could hurt the image of your brand, so it is important to make the selection carefully. At Blackbird Philanthropy Advisors, we work with business owners to help them make strategic moves for the maximum benefit of all, and have helped countless companies to find the perfect sponsorship opportunities for them. Keep reading to discover a few key things to consider when choosing a nonprofit to sponsor.
As you begin your search for the right nonprofit, it is important to consider your company’s connection to various causes and organizations. You should be looking for nonprofits whose causes correlate with the work you are doing, the area in which you operate, etc. Sure, you could select a nonprofit doing work you find interesting, but that won’t directly help your brand. The goal with nonprofit sponsorships is to benefit both parties involved, but if you choose a cause that is entirely unrelated to your business, you could end up with the short end of the stick.
When creating a sponsorship agreement with any nonprofit, it is important to know a little about the people that are running the organization. Sometimes, business owners discover nonprofit sponsorship opportunities that seem perfect, until they delve deeper into the beliefs or methodologies of their leadership. In some cases, it may be something small about the people associated with the nonprofit that turns you off from the opportunity, and in other cases, the amazing people you build connections with could seal the deal.
While considering any sponsorship opportunity, it is important to look closely at the benefits you are being offered. At first glance, many nonprofit sponsorship seem like they could be highly beneficial for any organization, but it is important to look past the surface to make sure that you are truly a good fit. To ensure you stay on target and don’t miss out on the benefits you are looking for, it is a good idea to have your expectations set from the start.
Once you find a possible candidate, communicate these expectations clearly, since knowing what you need from the sponsorship will help your nonprofit partner to fulfill their end of the bargain. Discuss topics like creative say and approval, how to establish public recognition, how you would like your brand represented, and so on.
Values & Goals
Sponsorship proposals come in many forms, and can include tons of varying information and detail. While looking through any sponsorship proposal, it is important to look out for signs that your company’s values or goals may not align with the proposal. You could, for example, discover that the nonprofit would only want to commit to putting your brand on their events for a few months, while you are looking for a longer-term agreement.
If the sponsorship doesn’t align with where you want to go, and where you imagine your company will be in 3, 5, or 10 years, keep looking. If the values of your company and the nonprofit you plant to sponsor don’t coincide, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment right from the start.
While you should certainly focus on the positive impact sponsoring a nonprofit could have, looking at the possible negative impact of not sponsoring the nonprofit can be equally as valuable. What would happen to your company if you didn’t sponsor? Would you be able to get the word out about yourself the way a nonprofit could? Will you choose to align yourself with another nonprofit? Would your company image be hurt if you didn’t take the sponsorship?
Similarly, consider what impact choosing to not sponsor could have on the nonprofit. Is your company the one most suited to sponsor this organization? Would public perception of the nonprofit be hurt if you don’t sponsor them? Would they be better off with a different sponsor, or would your brand help raise their visibility? Whether you sponsor or not, you will be making an impact, so be sure to assess all your options before you make a decision.
As you search for nonprofit sponsorship prospects, be sure to only seriously consider those with good reputations. It is relatively easy to find out whether or not a nonprofit has a good repudiation, especially since a quick Google will give you all the news and information you could need. Beyond simply researching public perception of the nonprofit, it is also a good idea to verify that they are a registered 501 c3, and that they have all their credentials in order.
Many nonprofit sponsorships include the chance to speak at or be featured at an event, which can be an amazing way to spread awareness of your brand. By sponsoring nonprofit events, and having your brand prominently displayed and mentioned throughout, you are showing potential customers the values of your company. Should you discover a nonprofit sponsorship with proposed events, think first about who will be attending and whether or not they would be interested in what your company has to offer.
Standing in front of the right audience can spark tons of opportunities, but if the audience wouldn’t be interested in you if you weren’t the sponsor of the event, things can go a bit sour. Assess what kind of people are interested in the nonprofit you are considering, and determine whether their interests overlap with the interests of your customers.
Sponsoring a nonprofit can be a great way to gain more brand recognition, and help your company to stand out from the competition. Alignment with a nonprofit not only boosts your advertising, but it can also make your company seem more appealing to prospective customers. If heightened recognition is the goal, choose recognizable nonprofits with track records of sponsored events.
Finally, one of the best ways to determine whether a nonprofit sponsorship is right for your company is by assessing how their staff treats yours. If you feel comfortable around the people running and managing the nonprofit, and your staff has good experiences collaborating with them, this is a great indication that you could create a highly successful sponsorship. Everyone should be benefiting from the opportunity, so be wary of anyone that seems negative, standoffish, or unwilling to communicate.
Check out more tips, tricks, and advice for nonprofits and philanthropic organizations by visiting Blackbird Philanthropy Advisors online today! While you’re there, be sure to take a look at our blog for lots more content just like this.