Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Achieving A Trifecta Through Fundraising Event Corporate Sponsorships

By Laprisha Berry Vaughn
Contributor, Gulf Coast Philanthropy

Everyone loves a win-win. Well, how about a win-win-win? A fabulous fundraising event such as a fun run, dance marathon, annual dinner, auction or wine tasting hosted by a nonprofit and sponsored/underwritten by corporations who are committed to corporate social responsibility is a win-win-win: a winning situation for the nonprofit, the corporation and the community they both serve and a nice alternative to answering a foundation's Request for Applications (RFA) or Request for Proposals (RFP). 

Foundation funding is one of the most popular streams of funding sought and secured by nonprofits. However, event sponsorships are often offered by the same philanthropic organizations. For example, Comerica Charitable Foundation and Corporate Contributions Program identify several specific charitable priorities. However, Comerica and other corporation's provide sponsorship for charitable events or events held by non-profit organizations. But, why do corporation's sponsor events and why should nonprofits seek sponsorships?

In a nutshell, the nonprofit and for profit have the same goals. On the surface, community organization's purpose for hosting a fundraising event is to provide an experience that amuses, entertains, enlightens, tugs at heart strings and hopefully purse strings.

Non-profit fundraising events also have three underlying goals:

1. Generate publicity for the organization
2. Raise the visibility of the organization
3. Bring in money, preferably new money.

Corporate sponsorship serves a three-fold purpose for the sponsor:

1. Increase company or product awareness
2. Increase visibility
3. Bring in new customers/new money

The corporate sponsor's goal is met through a mutually beneficial arrangement where the non-profit organization solicits businesses, corporations to buy a table, an ad or pay a significant amount of the event's cost in return for having the business name being prominently displayed at the event.

So if you’re a nonprofit ready to host a fundraising event or a for profit organization considering what to do with profits earmarked for community giving, consider the rare trifecta of a corporate sponsored charitable event that increases visibility for the non profit and the for profit, offsets costs of the event and benefits those served in the community.

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