ATTRACT SUPPORTERS MODULE 4:
Win companies as supporters
Basics: Attract supporters
How do I convince companies to support my project in the long term and what types of company funding exist? Here you will learn why companies want to support you, what is important when presenting your organization to potential supporters and how you can find the right company for you.
First step: create a clear profile
Always ready? As with other funding options, good communication of your own vision is essential for companies. The better you can present your organization and your project to the outside world and at the same time make it interesting and relevant for entrepreneurs, the greater the chance of support.
- Which problem do we want to help solve?
- What is our vision
- What are our values?
- What are our goals?
- What is our plan? What are our activities?
- Who am I working with?
- Where do I work?
- What are our particular strengths?
- What is our effect?
- How are we as an organization qualified to do that?
- Where do you want to go?
- What is needed – how can you cooperate?
A professional external image of your organisation is particularly important when addressing companies. Another criterion can be the level of awareness your organization has achieved and how financially stable your organization appears. A professional framework creates trust and trust opens up the possibility of long-term cooperation.
References to your organization from past successful collaborations with sponsors or from ambassadors who play an important role in your neighborhood or the public are e.g. a figurehead for your professionalism and reach.
Second step: expectations and needs
Before entering into a cooperation, it is advisable to do an actual analysis of your own organization.
- What expectations do we have of the cooperation?
What are our limits or beliefs that we don’t want to cross?
- What are our own resources that we can bring in and use?
- What dangers or risks do we see?
- What possibilities and opportunities could arise from a cooperation?
- What kind of cooperation with companies would correspond to our project and our principles – sponsoring, corporate volunteering, etc.?
The decision can also be made to address the entrepreneur as a private person instead of in their role as the owner of the company.
Third step: which company is right for us?
- Who knows whom so that I can establish a personal connection?
- Which company suits you?
- Who fits our profile?
- Who cares?
- Who is it good for?
- Is there a local or thematic reference?
- Which companies have already supported other projects?
- What do these companies promote and are there parallels to my work?
- What are our needs?
- What specific support does your organization or project need (monetary AND not monetary)?
- What special opportunities / starting points do I offer companies? (Target group, fields of work, topics, methods, employee competencies, rooms, equipment?)
- How much time / resources do we want to invest?
- What kind of company do we like to work with?
Fourth step: expectations and needs
Before contacting, extensive research on the company is necessary.
- What is the company’s profile?
How is their public relations set up?
Who are important decision-makers – the owners?
Does the organization have its own CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) department?
What are their goals?
How do they get involved in civil society?
Which projects have you already realized in the past?
On this basis you come up with a concept:
What advantages would the company have from supporting you with your project? How could the company potentially be involved?
Think of two alternatives here. These could differ in the scope of support or, for example, offer alternative support models (sponsoring – volunteering campaign).
Keep in mind: How can you make it as easy as possible to support yourself?
It’s a meeting of equals
Be creative and inventive. It can also be a new field of cooperation for companies
The question of money only allows yes or no. The question of cooperation opens up options and gives entrepreneurs the chance to be actively involved in problem solving.
Agree on the next steps as specific as possible at the end of the conversation.
A brief presentation of your organization and the project is helpful. Especially when you are initially in contact with employees of the organization. With a brief description in hand, you make it easier for employees to send them to e.g. their superiors.
Have you been invited to a meeting at a company and now you have the opportunity to present your project? That’s exciting! To know how to really convince with a pitch, go to the “Pitching” module
When talking to the company, you should remain authentic and appear professional.
- build up trust
- Understand each other’s interests
- Make your own interests clear
Don’t promise anything that you can’t keep and stay true to your own convictions – what is possible? What is beyond our resources?
You should also have summarized the most important information about you as an organization, the project and your request for cooperation on a maximum of two pages. This two-pager should be designed visually so that the most important information can be captured quickly even when scanning it quickly.
Fifth step: deepen cooperation
As with other funders, you should also report back to entrepreneurs on your project progress. This is not about a factual technical report, but about the impact of your joint project. Because companies want to report on their cooperation with you either internally or externally, it is important for them to be able to communicate the effect of the project in an easily understandable manner. Good pictures, videos or references from the people who have benefited from your work help. For example, how many children were able to participate in your film workshop by donating a camera? What did you learn from it? Etc.
You should ask what kind of report you can offer or what is expected of the company.
What makes a good cooperation?
- Be open-minded
- Communication at eye level: Non-profit organizations are experts in their area of community
- Transparency about the goals and activities of the cooperation – clear expectations
- The impact becomes visible
- Get involved in the “quirks” of the cooperation partner
- Basic relationship of trust (IT TAKES TIME!)
- Plan enough time to build up cooperation – including decision-making loops
- Organization members are behind the cooperation
- Know that cooperation partners are also in a complex network
- Companies have to be authentic in their engagement
- The corporate culture and mission statement of the non-profit organization should fit together
What are the risks?
- The charitable organization’s credibility is damaged
- Expectations raised by the company can lead to problems
- Little experience in practical implementation
- Lack of resources to establish and maintain collaborations