Over the years, I’ve sat on a few nonprofit boards and committees, and I was occasionally tasked with calling companies to ask them to sponsor an event. I’d take a deep breath, cross my fingers and deliver the pitch, acutely aware that I was not cut out for nonprofit development work.
But I’ve also been on the other side of the fence. 941CEO and Sarasota Magazine, our sister publication, receive calls every week from nonprofits seeking sponsorships. And just like you, we have to choose which events and initiatives best fit our company mission and contribute to the community that sustains us. Last year alone, we partnered with 66 nonprofits, but there are hundreds of others worthy of support.
Fortunately, there are guidelines to help you structure sponsorships that benefit both your company and the charity. As one expert told us, “The days of showing up with a logo, a check and a message of good luck are over.” In Ilene Denton’s cover story “Smart Giving,” you’ll see how three other companies forged winning strategies and learn the questions to ask before committing time, money and talent to a sponsorship.
This issue also offers tips for mastering social media. Yes, we know that your business is on Facebook, but it’s not enough just to have a page. You have to engage with your current customers while constantly attracting more. Vicki Dean’s “Social Climbing” offers a quick course in using this increasingly important medium and indispensable marketing tool.