Whether it's finding funding for female entrepreneurs or greening your neighborhood, you know your nonprofit is doing important work for others.But the corporate sponsors you depend on for funding are primarily interested in what you can do for them. Before you yell "scrooge," think of it this way: If sponsors based their sponsorship decisions solely on a nonprofit's good-cause pitch, they'd be throwing business sense to the wind.
Similarly, Aetna ( AET) hopes to gain access to female entrepreneurs' opinions on a new health care plan geared toward small business owners by sponsoring various events with the New York chapter of the
National Association of Women Business Owners . " Sponsorship lets us increase our brand awareness and really get the Aetna name out there," says Miguel Centeno, vice president of strategic marketing. Sponsors like multimedia retailer QVC, owned by Liberty Media ( LINTA), look for a familiar demographic to cultivate loyal customers. QVC sponsored Make Mine a $Million in part because it wants to build a positive brand image among the program's demographic, which is strikingly similar to its own.
In addition to using Aetna as its exclusive insurance provider, the organization's campaign included speaking engagements and Aetna messages in a monthly newsletter. Finally, even though you're a nonprofit, communicate to your sponsor that you have the same business growth plans as a for-profit. "We look for organizations that have business in their mission statement," says Patti Ross, a marketing executive at IBM ( IBM). "As small businesses
and nonprofits continue to grow, we grow as well."