Posts Tagged ‘Fundraising with Businesses’

CausePlanet’s Choice Awards–Top Books for nonprofits from 2014

Here they are — our favorites from 2014. We read so many compelling, insightful books last year on a variety of essential topics, but the final choices came down to originality and applicability.

Each of our Choice Book Awards had either a fresh perspective on an imperative competency or broadened our thinking by tackling new territory. Additionally, all the authors brought their content to life through helpful case stories, exhibits, tools and evidence. These favorites are sure to help you work smarter; we hope you delve into them soon.

CausePlanet’s Top Five Choice Awards from 2014:

1) Fundraising the Smart Way: Predictable, Consistent Income Growth for Your Charity + Website by Ellen Bristol

Bristol gives you an innovative, concrete way to track and monitor your donors’ progress toward making donations. No more guessing about a prospect’s ability and desire to give means you can confidently meet and surpass your fundraising goals. Learn more about the author, book and Page to Practice summary.

2) The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving by Jeff Brooks

Brooks shares an unvarnished, refreshing look at how to captivate more donors with accessible ideas that specifically work for nonprofits. He delivers new ways to connect your brand with your donors in a manner they won’t forget. Learn more about the author, book and Page to Practice summary.

3) The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide by Tom Adams

Adams establishes an irrefutable link between effective leadership and organizational impact. What’s more, he comprehensively illustrates numerous advantages and opportunities bestowed upon nonprofits that engage in proactive training, succession planning and transition management. Learn more about the author, book and Page to Practice summary.

4) Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New and Improved Strategies for Nonprofits by Joe Waters

The organization of this book is what really caught our attention. Waters gives you specific cause (pronounced “khaz” by Waters) marketing strategies, how to implement them, ideas you’re encouraged to steal and success stories at every turn. His approachable format is chock-full of applicability. Learn more about the author, book and Page to Practice summary.

5) The Abundant Not-for-Profit: How Talent (Not Money) Will Transform Your Organization by Colleen Kelly and Lynda Gerty

Kelly and Gerty reveal a transformational method for utilizing your community’s expertise. At the center of this transformation is a new breed of volunteer—a “knowledge philanthropist.” The abundance model will revolutionize your use of talent, cultivate a renewable resource and be a welcome relief on the budget. Learn more about the author, book and Page to Practice summary.

Thank you to all our authors who give us reading pleasure and professional inspiration every day. It’s a pleasure to promote your smart advice at CausePlanet.

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A new kind of speed: From zero to favorability in under 40 strategies


The Zenvo ST1 is among the fastest cars in the world and can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds. Among the slowest is the MIA Electric, reaching 60 miles per hour in a blistering 30 seconds. The poorly named Peel P50—because there’s no chance of ever peeling your tires due to excessive speed—can’t even reach 60 miles per hour.

While the idea of any kind of speed—car or otherwise—is thrilling in today’s fast-paced world, what really gets Joe Waters’ heart pounding is far more enduring than five to 30 seconds. Waters’ finish line is favorability. He can go from zero to favorability in under 40 strategies. In fact, if you choose only one of his cause marketing strategies from his latest book, Fundraising with Businesses, you’ll engage your business partner and nonprofit community more meaningfully and productively than you ever might have just holding out your hand.

Peel P50

Nonprofits must embrace the fact that companies are beginning to part ways with traditional philanthropy and gravitating toward opportunities where they can blend profit with purpose. Rather than simply writing a check, companies want to embed their giving into the purchasing experience through programs like point-of-sale that include donation boxes, register fundraisers, pinups and round-up fundraisers.  “Smart businesses of all sizes are listening to consumers. Their reward is a competitive edge that goes beyond product and price. Although most forms of marketing are about visibility, cause marketing generates favorability,” says Waters.

Why is favorability such a worthy goal? Because it transcends the awareness that most traditional marketing efforts accomplish. When a community favors you and your corporate partner as a result of cause marketing, people act on that favoritism in a variety of ways to support you.

We interviewed Joe Waters live via webcast earlier this year, and I wanted to share one of the sound bites with you. In this clip below, he provides listeners with the best way to approach businesses about a partnership.

Clip: Joe Waters’ Advice on the Best Way to Approach Bus

Fundraising with Businesses provides case stories, essential mechanics, helpful reminders and online examples to help you spot adaptable ideas you can customize for your organization. What’s more, the book’s final chapter shares seven steps for success to spur you into action when you close the cover.

Nonprofits willing to get creative and identify businesses that want to engage their employees and customers in doing good have much more to gain than charities that look at a list of companies for a check. Happy listening and may you reach favorability with great speed.

See also:

Cause Marketing for Nonprofits

Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding

Marketing Series I: Building a Persuasive Case, Seven Transformative Branding Principles, Multi-faceted Strategies and Bonding with Brands for Life

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Six myths of corporate sponsorships debunked

More and more nonprofit organizations are using corporate sponsorships to bring in additional income. And for good reason: According to IEG’s  latest annual industry forecast, spending on sponsorship by North American companies was projected to increase by 5.5 percent in 2013 and globally by 4.2 percent–the equivalent of a projected $53 billion spent by companies worldwide.

Several factors account for this strong forecast, including an increase in nontraditional sponsorship opportunities and the consistent revenue growth companies and organizations that use sponsorships have seen from year to year. Despite this explosion in sponsorships, many executive directors, development staff and well-meaning board members still have an unrealistic understanding of what corporate sponsorship is and what it takes to attract those dollars. Too many think that sponsorship fees are similar to corporate contributions, but with a few more deliverables. In fact, from the perspective of the corporate decision-maker, there are few similarities between the two.

Here are six common myths about sponsorships that may be interfering with your organization’s efforts to secure corporate funding:

1. Sponsorship sales is fundraising.

Fundraising is about making the case for philanthropic support for your mission or cause; sponsorship is about marketing. In other words, sponsorship is about a company reaching and impacting potential customers through your organization and its constituents to achieve its marketing and communications goals. If you don’t intend to provide tangible rights and benefits to a sponsor (for example, on-site exhibits, use of mailing lists or ads in your event program), don’t go after sponsorships.

2. Sponsorship fees should equal the cost or expense of the asset.

Many nonprofits set the “fee” they are seeking based upon a fundraising goal or the cost to fund a particular program. However, with sponsorships, there is no correlation between the fee and the expense of the program being sponsored. Indeed, in most cases, the sponsorship fee is worth much more than the cost of the program. Instead, the fee should be based upon the value of the sponsorship rights and benefits package.

Generally, there are two valuations that go into determining a sponsorship fee: tangible and intangible values. The tangible value includes all benefits that can be quantified (e.g., advertising, mailing lists, event tickets). The intangible value is the worth to the corporation of being associated with your organization or event (e.g., prestige of organization, media interest, networking opportunities). Together, the two determine what a sponsorship opportunity is worth.

3. Sponsors are primarily interested in exposure.

Many nonprofits assume that the difference between fundraising and sponsorship is a banner—in other words, the corporate sponsor is really just looking for recognition. While recognition may be one of their objectives, the reasons for sponsorships are far more diverse. According to a recent sponsor survey conducted by IEG, a sponsorship consulting and research firm, the most common reasons for sponsorship are that companies want to:

Have a closer, personal impact on their customers/clients, as well as the opportunity for two-way communications;

Increase visibility;

Shape attitudes;

Communicate their commitment to a particular profession or lifestyle;

Differentiate their product from the competitor’s;

Entertain clients;

Showcase product attributes;

Combat the larger ad budgets of competitors; and

Increase sales.

4. Category exclusivity is generally not that important.

The issue of category exclusivity is where many nonprofits get stuck with sponsorships. Category exclusivity is the right to be the only company within its product or service category associated with the sponsored organization. Simply stated, if Coke is a sponsor, Pepsi is not allowed to be involved.

Sponsors demand category exclusivity because they want a marketplace free from “competitor noise.” Having more than one company from the same sponsorship category will greatly diminish the value of sponsorship and decrease the attractiveness of your event to a potential corporate sponsor.

5. Gold, silver and bronze are popular sponsor levels with corporations.

Contrary to popular belief, using sponsorship levels like gold, silver and bronze do not attract big sponsorships. As soon as a corporate sponsor sees a proposal with a precious metal designation, it assumes the request is just another fundraising appeal. Instead, the terms used for true sponsorship designations are “Title,” “Presenting,” “Associate” or “Official Supplier.”

6. Sponsorship sales is a loathsome responsibility.

Few really enjoy soliciting corporate sponsorships. The main reason is because oftentimes nonprofits don’t have a clear understanding of why a company would want to sponsor their program or event, or they simply don’t have the tools to effectively represent their organization.

Sponsorship sales is not rocket science. Know what you have to offer. Identify who you think might have an interest or need in what you have. Approach them about their needs, not yours. Present a clear, concise opportunity that is appropriately valued and priced. And once they say yes, take good care of them.

See also:

Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New and Improved Ideas for Nonprofits

Cause Marketing for Nonprofits: Partner for Purpose, Passion and Profits

Leveraging Good Will

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Join us for 40 new and improved strategies for fundraising with businesses

Join us for CausePlanet’s author interview with Joe Waters about Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New and Improved Strategies for Nonprofits.

The interview will touch on the following book highlights:

Apply literally dozens of case stories, instructive reminders and highly creative ideas to incorporate business partnerships and revenue to your fundraising plan.

Yield incredibly rewarding company collaborations by adopting the author’s recommended ideas, visual examples and steps for implementation.

Gain inspiration for growing your corporate involvement beyond the single strategy of asking for a check and identify what companies want from nonprofit partners.

Tap into your business partner’s numerous assets, including customer loyalty and employees’ desire to engage the community.

When? Thursday, March 27 at 11 a.m. CST

Don’t miss this great opportunity to get your questions answered by one of the sector’s leading experts on fundraising with businesses!

See also:

Leveraging Good Will: Strengthening Nonprofits by Leveraging Businesses

Cause Marketing for Nonprofits


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What’s missing in most fundraising campaigns with businesses?

“It’s ironic that there is a new piece of scientific research every week that shows the central role the emotions play in persuasion. For cause marketing, an emotional appeal has to be your vanguard, the thing with which you lead. So given the choice between asking the customer, ‘Please donate to X hospital?’ or ‘Would you like to donate a dollar to help a sick child?’ the latter is the more persuasive appeal,” answered cause marketing expert and author Joe Waters when we asked him about the importance of evoking emotion in fundraising campaigns.

Waters added, “I’m amazed how resistant nonprofits are to emotional appeals. They want to sanitize the appeal to make it more ‘acceptable,’ which is exactly what doesn’t work.”

Evoking emotion in 40 success stories

When he’s not advising clients on how to lead with more emotion in their appeals, Joe Waters is sharing success stories from his new book Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New and Improved Strategies for Nonprofits. Each of his 40 chapters is dedicated to a revenue strategy with companies.

It’s more than writing a check

Waters’ objection to nonprofits not embracing the emotional equity they have as nonprofits is part of his overarching message in the book: Nonprofits willing to get creative and identify businesses that want to engage their employees and customers in doing good have much more to gain than charities that simply ask businesses to write a check.

Why fundraising with businesses is more fruitful when you involve consumers

Waters claims this is a great time for nonprofits to begin partnering with businesses in more meaningful, engaging ways. “Consumers are driving the rise of cause partnerships,” explains Waters. According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study:

90 percent of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes.
83 percent of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes.
Support for cause-related partnerships is especially strong from two key consumer groups: moms and Millennials.

Clearly, consumers want to know the business that provides their product or service is rooted in support of its community and engaged in the well-being of those who need help. In other words, consumers are inspired by observing an emotional connection between the community and the company that thrives in it. Fundraisers must look for ways to engage their corporate partners beyond check writing not only because it will yield better results, but also they can leverage what research has already proven.

I’ve excerpted one of Waters’ 40 stories in his book to give you inspiration and a glimpse of why giving customers, employees and businesses a higher connection beyond the simple transaction is so successful:

Share Our Strength and Shake Shack use pinups to fight hunger

A great example of what Waters calls “a midsize partnership” is The Great American Shake Sale launched by Shake Shack and Share Our Strength. Over a few weeks in 2012, this modern roadside burger stand surpassed its original goal of $25,000 and raised over $135,000 with pinups. “A pinup, which is sometimes called a paper plaque, paper icon, scannable or mobile is sold in restaurants, department stores and any other place that has customers at a register,” explains Waters. Shake Shack’s success wasn’t a stroke of luck. The next year, they raised a whopping $285,000 for Share Our Strength. Here’s how:


They laid the groundwork: Share Our Strength CEO, Billy Shore, spoke with the Shake Shack’s senior management about their program to end childhood hunger, No Kid Hungry. The team was inspired and created The Great American Shake Sale.

They trained employees and had fun with it: Every employee was trained about childhood hunger and the importance of making the ask at the register: “Would you like to donate two dollars to end childhood hunger?” Many of the stores had fun with the campaign and created a party-like atmosphere.

They incentivized customers: For every $2 donation, Shake Shack gave a $5 coupon for a free shake.

The rest is history. In Waters’ book, you can read his meaty sections that follow this case story, such as “How It Works in 1-2-3,” “Things to Remember,” “Pinups 101,” and “Steal These Ideas!” Who wouldn’t want to read a section called “Steal These Ideas!” in each chapter? Brilliant.

Joe Waters’ 40 case stories—each profiling a different way to partner with companies—in Fundraising with Businesses will have you highlighting passages and writing notes in the margin. When you see businesses in your community, ask yourself how you might build a partnership where the employees and customers can be part of something greater—your cause.

By Denise McMahan, Founder & Publisher, CausePlanet

See also:

The End of Fundraising: Raise More by Selling Your Impact

How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money

The Influential Fundraiser: Using the Psychology of Persuasion to Achieve Outstanding Results

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Tired of asking for a check?

The single strategy of asking companies to write a check is tired. You can leverage a corporation’s involvement in many other creative ways that will help raise more money for your organization.

Nine themes

Joe Waters, cause marketing expert, gives 40 specific, practical strategies you can implement now to further your profitable relationships with businesses. They fall into nine categories: point-of-sale, physical go-tos, social media online, deals, direct gifts from businesses, money from employees, required actions from consumers, nonprofit celebrations and special opportunities.

Seven steps to success

If you follow Waters’ seven steps, you can increase your business fundraising results. They include looking at your assets, targeting your supporters, getting your boss’ blessing, focusing on your brand, maintaining a diversified fundraising plan, preparing for competition and seeking professional fundraising help. Waters offers invaluable advice from 20 years of fundraising experience.

Join us!

REGISTER NOW! Join me for a lively discussion about practical strategies you can use to fundraise with businesses with author Joe Waters.

Questions in this interview will touch on the book’s following highlights:
Apply literally dozens of case stories, instructive reminders and highly creative ideas to incorporate business partnerships and revenue into your fundraising plan.

Yield incredibly rewarding company collaborations by adopting the author’s recommended ideas, visual examples and steps for implementation.

Gain inspiration for growing your corporate involvement beyond the single strategy of asking for a check and identify what companies want from nonprofit partners.

Tap into your business partner’s numerous assets, including customer loyalty and employees’ desire to engage in the community.

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Waters’ new book gives you license to steal

“To be successful in anything you need inspiration. It’s what drives us to keep pushing and excelling. Without it you just hit a dead end. You stop learning and exploring,” explains cause marketing author Joe Waters.

Joe Waters recently inspired us with his new book Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New and Improved Strategies for Nonprofits, which tells a great success story in each of his 40 chapters dedicated to a revenue strategy with companies. I’ve excerpted one of his stories to give you inspiration and glimpse of Waters’ numerous featured partnerships:

Hashtag fundraiser

Over the holidays in 2012, global supermarket chain Lidl offered to donate five four-course Christmas dinners to food banks in Belgium for each tweet with the hashtag #luxevooriedereen, which is Dutch for “luxury for everyone.” The campaign went viral and spread rapidly on Twitter. While Lidl had privately committed to only 1,000 meals, they graciously increased their donation to 10,000 meals.

License to steal!

Waters advises you that when your nonprofit uses hashtag fundraisers and social media in general, you have to plan for the unexpected and be clear on your donation. After Waters explores the case story, some of the meaty sections that follow are “How it Works in 1-2-3,” “Things to Remember,” and “Steal These Ideas!” Who wouldn’t want to read a section called “Steal These Ideas!”? Brilliant.

Too big, too small or just right?

Despite the fact that cause marketing has been in existence since the early 1980s, author Joe Waters is still surprised by the amount of confusion surrounding this idea. Additionally, smaller nonprofits that represent the bulk of our sector are misdiagnosing why great cause marketing partnerships are passing them by and going to the bigger nonprofits. Too often, smaller charities approach businesses for cash gifts when they could be leveraging much more if they are willing to get creative.

“Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you have to think small,” says Waters. He asks, “What if the business is new or struggling?” Does your strategy account for the other assets the business may bring to the table if it can’t write a check? Or, if the company does have money to give, can you see beyond the check and realize the enormous amount of possible donations from customers and employees through an innovative campaign?

Welcome pieces of advice

Each of Waters’ chapters are further bolstered by advice boxes where Waters shares best practices in areas such as “Three Types of Decision Makers,” “Four Ways to Turn Unwanted Gifts Into Nonprofit Gold,” or “Ten Fundraising Ideas for B2B [Business to Business] Companies.”

I encourage you to indulge in a little guilt-free stealing and experiment with Waters’ Fundraising with Businesses. Your bottom line won’t be sorry.

See also:

The End of Fundraising: Raise More by Selling Your Impact

How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money

The Influential Fundraiser

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Community auctions: Collect creative items and boost the bidding process

Last week, CausePlanet asked its readers for questions they had about community auctions. As the author of SOLD: How to Run a Great Community Auction and owner of Community Auction Services, I was anxious to share what I’ve experienced over the years. I hope these answers help those of you who use this exciting fundraising strategy.

Q: What are first-timers most surprised to learn after completing their first auction?

Well, there are good surprises and bad ones! Many first-timers are overwhelmed by the checkout process, which has to take place in an organized way and very quickly. A chaotic checkout experience can turn any organization off auctions forever: it’s traumatic for those giving the auction and also for attendees.

The key to avoiding bad surprises is planning. Read up on how auctions should be run—there are a myriad of websites where you can get information, or you can purchase SOLD:  How to Run a Great Community Auction. Ask friends about auctions they attended to find out what went well and what didn’t. To avoid checkout trauma, a good data system is essential, whether it’s created by an organization member or purchased (like EasyAuction™).

Of course, the best surprise is to learn that the auction made more than was forecasted, which happens a lot with well-organized auctions, whether they’re first-timers or not. Items you didn’t think would sell end up making a lot; items you thought were real winners go for peanuts! But overall, you can find yourself amazed at the total. My favorite story:  a preschool wanted to raise $1000 and ended up with over $3500 by the end of the evening!

Q: What are some ways I can boost the creativity of the auction items my committee collects?

The number one rule when trying to improve your donations is: find out what the bidders want and give it to them! How can you do that? Look at the population who will be attending the auction. What do they like to do?

·         If your organization is a community (a church, school or other organization where people know each other), encourage people to offer dinners and other social events in their homes. This can be an untapped source of fantastic items.

·         Are a lot of the attendees’ families with children? Host ice cream socials or magic shows in a backyard, or sponsor a family softball game complete with hot dogs and root beer. People love buying things for their kids!

·         Combine smaller donations into attractive and desirable baskets. Have a gift certificate for an oil change? Buy some wax and a car wash mitt and create a “Love Your Car” basket. Hand-thrown pottery mugs? Add a Starbuck’s gift card and a bag of gourmet coffee. You can get baskets at thrift stores and use leftover Christmas ribbon to make them more appealing.

·         Borrow ideas wherever you can find them! If you know of another organization that’s giving an auction, get a copy of the catalog. (By the way, I’m happy to share ideas from some of my previous auctions—just ask!) Again, a web search will turn up lots of information.

·         ALWAYS analyze your auction after it’s over to determine which types of items sold well and which didn’t. Then get more of the former next year.

·         Ask potential bidders what they’d like to bid on. Put a “donation tree” in the lobby or on your organization’s auction information table. Encourage people to write their desired auction items on “leaves” and tape them to the tree. Then find someone to donate them. Note: of course, in today’s world, this can be a virtual tree via email or a Facebook page.

Q: What are the best strategies for keeping people bidding in a live or silent auction without being annoying?

Of course, the best way to keep people bidding is to have great items, but you can stir up a little excitement with these techniques:

·         Use Psychology: People tend to start bidding more when they think the auction is almost over, so have several (two or three) closing times for silent auction items. (This helps your data entry people too.) You can close a whole category at one time or choose to close individual items, generally those that will not benefit by extended bidding. Mark the bid sheets with colored dots to indicate which closing time applies. For example, Red Dot items might close at 8:00, Blue Dot at 8:15 and the rest at 8:30. Be sure to announce, “Red Dot items closing in five minutes!”

·         Provide Bargains: About 15 minutes before the silent auction is over, reduce the price of items that have no bids by marking the bid sheets with a marker or pen. Then, be sure to announce that you’re doing it—people will come out of the woodwork anticipating a bargain. I often reduce minimum bids by one-third to one-half. Remember:  you’ll make more by selling the item cheaply than by not selling it at all.

·         Entertain: For oral/live auctions, hire a professional auctioneer if at all possible. This makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping people interested. If you can’t afford a pro, use entertaining ways of describing the items for bid. For example, have one of your helpers dress in an evening gown to display the items in a Vanna White-type walk across the stage! Make sure the auctioneer includes a lot of humor, including stories everyone will relate to.

·         Keep it Simple: Don’t include too many items in your oral/live auction. It’s hard to set an absolute number, but if you keep the number at 20 or below, you will have more interest (and higher bids) for the items offered. Be sure the items are chosen for their general appeal, not necessarily just their value. You can offer the other items in your silent auction.

See also:

SOLD: How to Run a Great Community Auction

Fundraising with Businesses

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