How to get corporate sponsorship for your non-profit

Steve Harvey
5 min readJul 26, 2018

When you run a non-profit organisation, you rely on the support of donors, supports, and sponsors to keep your dream alive. Without a few philanthropic souls to keep a vision aloft, many charities bite the dust before they’ve ever had a chance to make a real difference to the world.

While a loyal social following and the occasional donation is great, you’re going to need more than that if you want to invest in marketing strategies that turbo-charge your results. Corporate sponsorship can be the ultimate way for charitable organisations to invest in brand-building plans, without breaking the bank.

Companies in the modern era are constantly spending more cash on #CorporateSponsorship programs to improve their brand reputation and earn the attention of their target audience. Now that today’s customers are more interested in doing business with firms that “give something back”, countless businesses are searching for the perfect charitable connection.

All you need to do as a non-profit organisation is establish an affinity with your preferred sponsor, by tracking down the perfect brands, creating an in-depth proposal, and showcasing your value.

How to launch a corporate sponsorship strategy

Any venture, whether it’s a new business, a thriving enterprise, or a non-profit organisation, needs revenue to survive. While many companies will rely on the sale of products and services to get the funds they need, there are other options available.

Corporate sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship that exists between two brands. One business agrees to sponsor the other, offering money, prizes, or marketing support, in exchange for access to that brand’s reputation, social following, and audience. Here are a few tips to help you launch your first #Sponsorship on the right track:

1. Know your audience

There are two audiences you need to be aware of when you’re launching a corporate sponsorship program. The first is the kind of sponsor you want to attract, and the second is the audience you have to offer your backer. Remember, one of the main reasons a company will sponsor a charity is to earn attention from an audience they don’t already have access to. You’ll need to make sure that you have a following that’s attractive to your benefactor if you want them to hand over their cash.

2. Offer something valuable

Corporate sponsors want a return on their investment. For some, the promise of a more authentic social responsibility strategy will be enough, for others, you’ll need to get creative. Think about how you can work with your sponsor to create a marketing plan that benefits both of you. The ideal strategy will generate new donations for your charity while raising awareness or sales for your sponsor at the same time.

3. Have a business pitch

A successful corporate sponsorship program requires you to sell the idea of your venture to another business. This means that you need to not only tell your story and convince organisations to empathise with what you’re doing, but you also need to demonstrate your sustainability too. Create graphs, record numbers, and make presentations that are sure to catch the eye of your intended benefactors, and convince them you’re worth their time.

Tips for success with your corporate sponsor

Finding the right #BrandSponsor will always be easier if you have a plan of action to guide you through each stage of the process.

Often, charities struggle to get the funding they need from a corporate entity because they jump in head-first without doing enough research. Your sponsor is going to want to see evidence of your value from day one, so you’ll need to have a full application package setup before you approach any possible benefactors. Before you start asking for cash, make sure you:

1. Research your sponsors

Start by creating a wish-list of people you’d love to work with. For instance, if you know that most of your donors are people in the millennial demographic, then it makes sense to work with companies that appeal to them, such as tech brands or entertainment groups. Once you’ve got your list, narrow it down by drawing links between the benefits you have to offer a backer, and what each brand is looking for in a sponsorship opportunity.

2. Build the right relationships

When it comes to pitching your proposal, to a #CorporateSponsor, make sure that you go straight to the top. There are only a handful of people in any business who can say “yes” to a new partnership with a charity. Make sure that you address these individuals first with a well-planned presentation featuring graphs, figures, and everything an organisation could need to know about your brand.

3. Follow up

Finally, remember that your sponsors are busy people running companies of their own. That means that you’re going to need to keep in touch if you want to make sure that you don’t lose their attention. Ask them to follow you on social media, and give them regular updates on your charity with email newsletters to ensure you remain front-of-mind. If you don’t hear anything back after a while, then pick up the phone and get back in touch.

Making the most of corporate sponsorship for your non-profit

Getting sponsorship for your charity can be a difficult experience. It’s not enough to simply share your passion with a corporation and hope that they’ll want to support your cause. While sharing your story might earn you a one-off donation and a dose of empathy, it’s not enough to get a corporate sponsor.

Benefactors in a corporate sponsorship program want to see the commercial value of your cause. This means that you need to take steps to position your charity as the best way for your would-be backer to reach their marketing or sales goals.

By researching your #CharitySponsor options, learning what they hope to accomplish, and aligning yourself with those goals, you can discover a new and effective way to enhance your marketing strategies, and get the funding you need.

To find out more about corporate sponsorship, check out our complete guide to earning the attention of a corporate sponsor. On the other hand, reach out to Fabrik to find out how we can help you get the financial support you need with the right branding and marketing techniques.

Any great venture strives on support. Make sure you attract the right help for your non-profit.

Steve Harvey

Co-owner of creative agency Fabrik Brands, London.