Top Ten Corporate Fundraising Tips

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Robin Toal shares his top ten corporate fundraising tips, having raised funds and managed projects with international partners including HSBC, Microsoft and Google.

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  1. Know your facts: The majority of CSR and corporate giving projects are overseen by professionals keen to achieve the best return on investment they can for their money. Whether it is the number of children supported or women trained, they want to know exactly what you will spend any money on, how, why and what difference will it make. Be prepared!
  2. Know your corporate: You need to understand the company’s  values, customer base, aspirations and previous charitable engagements as a minimum. More than most other types of raising funds, corporate fundraising often feels like a formal interview where you will be expected to know your facts. If you are able to relate the companys past, present and future to your organisation you will stand a far better chance of being successful.
  3. Look beyond money: Most companies will do a lot to help you, but most are still very reluctant to release hard cash to NGOs, especially without considerable strings attached. Try not to focus on direct cash, but the other ways that a company can help you. There are more things they can do for you than you might think, from employee fundraising  to donation of skills, products or resources as well as introductions to other important individuals and organisations and awareness of your cause.
  4. Create company advocates: The difference between a successful partnership and a fantastic partnership is having a critical contact or member of staff that really believes in your organisation and what could be achieved by a successful partnership. Attract them to your cause by telling the real life, human stories that you organisation is involved in and the difference that extra support could make. They will serve as your voice when you are not there, represent your organisation at board meetings and use their personal relationships to get their friends and colleagues to offer their support.
  5. Be accountable:  Successful partnerships understand challenges and problems and design ways to mitigate them. Therefore it is important to be transparent with your corporate partner about what it is you hope to achieve but also where problems may arive. Your new corporate partner may have advice or even be able to contribute additional resources to overcome whatever the problem is. Under promise and over deliver wherever possible.
  6. Communication: Support your contact at the company, they have a boss who will be asking questions just like the rest of us. Provide all the information you can and make yourself available at their convenience. Do not make them jump through hoops and take the opportunity to ask what else you can do to make sure they have the information they need, when they need it. A happy contact will push open doors that disgruntled contacts won’t. Keep your contact sweet by maintaining excellent levels of communication at all times.
  7. Present yourself well: Corporate fundraising is competitive. Companies get to choose who it is that represents them and they will not want to take risks with their carfefully manicured brand. They will want to be reassured that your organisation presents itself professionally. Everything from your website to business cards to how you dress and speak will be under observation, make sure you give the best representation of you and your organisation as you can.
  8. Expect a challenge: Corporate partners are rarely shy and will expect you to answer their questions about how you operate and why. They may even demand certain changes or set especially high expectations that you will need to manage. Do not lose focus on your goal and make sure that whatever is agreed truly benefits your organisation.
  9. You are not number 1: The partnership with your organisation is not likely to be the most important thing on your corporate partners agenda, in fact you might be very close to the bottom of their long list. They would love to help you more, but they have other priorities that will often interupt or get in the way of your partnership. An understanding that your partner has other important things to do will help everyone involved to be more accomodating and hopefully serve to create a better relationship.
  10. Seize opportunities: A business, however big or small, will have customers, services, offers, events, campaigns and more. If you can find a convenient way for your organisation to partner in any of these areas you can create new income streams as well as prime opportunities for awareness and engagement.  Stay aware of what your partner has planned and don’t be afraid to suggest ways that you could get involved. Even if your original proposal doesn’t work you may well plant the seed for other opportunities.

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  1. Avatar Shamsun Nahar says

    I have gone through your article. It is informative and excellent. However, at this moment my organization, Saptadinga, is passing a crisis period. We are working on women entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh. As you know capital investment or loan disbursement is a major part of entrepreneurship development programs. We have implemented programs of facilitating bank loan to the developed women entrepreneurs who have established micro enterprises. To facilitate Bank loan we had to provide collateral facilities in fever of women entrepreneurs. However, 10% of women entrepreneurs were not able to repay their loans due to the followings reasons: medicare services for sickness, making loss in business, daughters wedding etc. Bankers are not interested to consider these factors, so that our executive board members has repaid that loan. Now the board members have lost their interest to help me continue our program. As a result I have to stop my organizational activities. Do you have any guidance for me?