Nonprofits rely on communication and cooperation. A nonprofit’s ability to promote its cause influences fundraising, volunteer participation and partnerships with corporations. A corporation may have manpower, resources and a reputation that it can use to advance a charity’s goals. By approaching a local or global business, a nonprofit organization can create a partnership that will aid it for a singular event or an ongoing mission. Here are five things to keep in mind when approaching a company to assist a nonprofit:

1. Do the research

First and foremost, a nonprofit should choose a corporation that is both willing and able to promote a partnership. In the modern information age, there are plenty of ways to research potential corporate partners, including reading news stories, visiting company’s Web pages and reviewing business practice reports.

The Harvard Business Review pointed out a few things nonprofits should look out for when selecting a company to approach. For example, make sure the corporation will not negatively affect the reputation of the nonprofit. The Harvard Business review warned that corporations quick to throw their name behind a good cause may be in desperate need of flattering public relations. Look into the corporation’s goals and practices before seeking or accepting help. 

It’s also important to do research before starting the partnership process so that time and resources are not wasted. The information help personalize the pitch the nonprofit makes to a corporation.

2. Mutual goals encourages investment

Once a nonprofit has collected information on what a company is and what it is trying to achieve, it can use the knowledge to convince the corporation that a partnership would be in both parties’ best interest.

Outside of the usual positive PR associated with promoting a charity, the nonprofit may be able to offer a company unique advantages. The corporation may be interested in saving the environment, working with disadvantaged youth or other causes they can directly take part in.

If you want a corporation to be truly involved, give the company’s leadership a role in the effort. The Beth Kanter blog shared tips for approaching corporations and stated it is essential to get CEOs on board with corporate partnerships to make sure the endeavor has the company’s full attention.

3. Work with available resources

Once a corporation that is motivated and ready to help is found, it is time to decide how the company can best aid the cause.

First, find what companies are willing to do. If they just want to give money, they can. In the research phase, find what materials they have available and how they can be used. Prepare plans and partnership activities to suggest based on the company’s resources.

KITV4, a Honolulu, Hawaii, news station, shared the story of a homeless support organization partnering with a local hotel to provide transportation for people living on the streets. The hotel used their off duty shuttles to transport homeless people in need of help to shelters or hospitals. The partnership lead to tools for the nonprofit and cost efficient PR for the hotel.

4. Employees become volunteers

Ken Mueller, a marketing industry expert, wrote a piece for the Razoo Foundation explaining how businesses can benefit from nonprofit partnerships. One key point he focused on is how a corporation should listen to its employees when selecting which fundraising projects to support. Some potential employees will select companies based on the volunteer opportunities they provide.

Nonprofits that have volunteer opportunities for the corporation’s employees can increase the cooperation between the two organizations. Fast Company Magazine encouraged companies to pay their employees to volunteer, as it will help reinforce soft skills for certain industry workers and could create a good relationship with the local community.

A nonprofit can approach a business with a variety of volunteering options that utilizes a broad spectrum of talent and opportunities. Providing multiple volunteer programs may encourage skilled individuals to participate in a cause and give corporations a benefit their employees are looking for.

5. Have a professional appearance

A corporation analyzes success in numbers. While the company may be on board with a cause, it is used to seeing a measurable return on its investments.

Meeting a corporation’s need for professionalism, helps an organization stand out as a viable partner. A nonprofit should have an infrastructure in place that manages volunteers, provides communication tools for supporters and measures fundraising success. Having this system in place during the initial meeting will show a corporation that its donated resources will be properly and efficiently used.

A nonprofit can make use of modern technological tools to create this material. Nonprofit management software will not only collect and analyze data from an organization’s practices and activities, it will help coordinate volunteers, supporters and fundraising efforts in the future. Nonprofits should employ all necessary tools to show potential corporate partners they’re serious about their mutual success.