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How Non-Profits Can Attract For-Profit Donors & Sponsors

Updated on September 16, 2010

Attracting donors and sponsors is a continual challenge for non-profits. Marc Pitman’s (a non-profit fundraiser) conversation with friends, both of whom owned businesses, changed the way he approached and nurtured for-profit sponsors and donors; instead of just talking about he wanted from businesses, he started talking about what a non-profit partnership could give to them.

In an interview with Movie Mondays for Fundraising Professionals, Marc told of the frustration his friends encountered when asked for money from non-profits; they were made to feel as if they owed them money and there were undertones that non-profits were better than for-profits and provided a more worthy service to the community. They also expressed the economic and social benefits of their business to the community i.e. employment generation, aspects overlooked by non-profits.

“My letters went from being our event, our event, our event, our event, we want your money, to we have this cadre of hundreds of people that are coming to this event, it’s a great place to expose your business or it could be a great place to expose your business. We love to offer you that. There are these sponsorship levels, we’re partnering together to make this project happen in the community. We started seeing an uptake in corporate sponsorship.”

“The fruits of those conversations really came a few years later when we hit a speed bump in the economy and we started getting no’s to the sponsorship requests. People were saying the economy is hurting us, we can’t give right now. I was able to remember these other guys and look at what service this particular business owner was giving to our community. So I thanked him with his no. I said thank you for keeping your head above water, thank you for staying in the black and keeping our neighbour employed. That’s an incredible service to our community and we need that. Because I knew that without people having jobs I wouldn’t have a donor for the long term. The gratitude he gave back was amazing. He said you get it Marc, thank you for understanding, finally a non-profit person understands it. I knew that we just earned a donor for life, because when the economy came back he was going to know we were on the same team with him; making the community a better place.”

Marc exemplifies the importance of respecting and understanding the role and value of for-profits in the community. While there are fundamental differences in the mission and objectives between them, the outcome is the same; strengthening the community which they serve. Harnessing those similarities through the formation of partnerships will lead to greater benefits for the community.

To view interview, please click on the following link:


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    • princessfernandez profile image


      4 years ago

      Corporate sponsorship allows you to do what you love and have others foot the bill. This is a great concept that works well in the small business landscape. Although sponsors provide you with the funds that are needed to produce events or attract attention to your small business, attracting corporate sponsorship can be tricky. Check this


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