Recently, I received an email with a link to a report produced jointly by Classy, a GoFundMe affiliate, and Double the Donation, entitled Uncover Corporate Partnership Opportunities With Your Nonprofit Data. Since a majority of investors in our client’s campaigns, if not directly related to businesses, have corporate ties, this naturally merited some attention.
This 24-page report lays out the basics of combing through your existing donor data, including what to look for and how to follow up. According to matching gift research from Double the Donation, this niche appears to be fertile ground for corporate dollars:
- An estimated $2.5 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually.
- An additional $6 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year.
- Over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs.
What may be most useful to typical nonprofits is that they discuss using matching gift programs as an entry point to leverage larger, more impactful corporate relationships. What caught my attention, though, was what appeared on page 20 of the report, dedicated to the importance of demonstrating impact. Remember, we are talking corporate money here, and trust me, this market has moved beyond the emotional appeal years ago.
In the section Demonstrating impact with existing partnership data, the article states, “… another key element that can demonstrate value to prospective partners focuses on existing partnership data. After all, even the most philanthropic-minded corporations want to see how the relationship would benefit their bottom line.” Exactly! And when the dollar amounts being asked for are large, the more critical the examination by the corporation becomes. This is why years ago, when we got somewhat puzzled looks by nonprofits about demonstrating ROI, I realized that we needed a broader, more encompassing term to explain the concept more fully, and voila’, the Organizational Value Proposition® (or OVP), was born. This method of demonstrating “buckets of value” has proven invaluable in raising prospective investors’ sights.
The examples given of the types of data points to collect are also very well done:
- Your nonprofit’s reach/audience size (i.e., how many people will be exposed to co-marketing materials highlighting corporate partners)
- Average event attendance
- Tangible impact on previous corporate partners (e.g., increased website traffic, an uptick in qualified leads, etc.)
- Types of marketing opportunities you can offer (social media spots, website promotions, direct mailings, print advertisements, on-site event displays, and more)
We have found that while these mostly marketing-oriented examples are certainly a step forward in demonstrating value, moving beyond them can have transformational impacts on you fundraising efforts. When crafting an OVP, the overarching themes are to:
- Illustrate value that may not be obvious.
- Raise the sights of prospective investors by quantifying value in ways they may not have imagined.
- Position the nonprofit organization as a valuable community asset that is certainly worthy of investment.
Be prepared when presenting value propositions to the corporate world for longer decision times and several levels of decision-making. While these factors may be frustrating, welcome the fact that you have asked for a large enough investment higher than a lower level, such as the branch manager, can approve. Transformational investment is worth it.