Finding corporate donors needs careful preparation because most corporate entities want to work with highly organized fundraisers to benefit from the publicity.
10 ways to find corporate donors for my school fundraiser
Using personal contacts
Your contacts may include friends, relatives, clients, and work associates. These personal contacts can also know other potential corporate donors at their workplaces. As a school fundraising team member, ask and assess for the corporate connections of your circles and ask to be introduced to their corporate team members for talks about giving donations.
Similarly, continue building your network through the people and corporate bodies you interact with in your fundraising events and online groups so that you approach them for donations for your next fundraiser.
School service providers
Your school service providers can be some of your most loyal and generous corporate donors. When you ask them for support, you may be surprised by how much they are willing to be your corporate donors.
Corporate donors for similar school fundraisers
Research the programming and publicity of other similar school fundraisers in your locality, which were and are being supported by corporate donors. You can also ask for donations from these corporate donors to support your school's fundraising cause.
Create your preferred company shortlist
Create a list of companies, you want to be a part of your corporate donors and contacts. Having a list of potential donors can help simplify the process of contacting these companies. Even though large companies like Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, Disney, and Walmart are good to consider as your corporate donors, but keep in mind, their corporate giving programs are highly competitive.
Your donation application will have to outcompete millions of donation requests from school fundraisers worldwide. So, you should formulate a "wish list" of local small businesses in your area. Besides receiving fewer donation requests, they are more interested in contributing to the welfare of their neighboring communities.
Local businesses in your area
Search for all local businesses in your area online and contact them for a donation appointment. Remember, the companies that will agree to support your school fundraiser might be the ones you least expect. Don't hesitate to contact these potential corporate donors for support. Your school fundraisers might be promotional avenues for these corporate bodies, making it a win-win situation for all parties.
Improve your chances of getting corporate donors by calling local businesses first and speaking to the manager. If the manager says that they accept requests for school fundraiser sponsorships and support, check to make sure you understand their preferred procedure for submitting your request. When you submit your request, personalize the message or application for that particular business.. Remember to include all your necessary contact details in case the manager has questions.
In your donation request, include the number of people estimated to attend your school fundraisers, how you will use the donated money, how the company's donation will be recognized, fundraiser event sponsorship levels, and the sponsorship commitment deadline.
If possible, introduce yourself by telephone and not by email, as most companies have good firewalls, which may block your emails from going through.
Using search engines
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are a great resource to locate databases of corporate companies worldwide, which offer donations to school fundraisers. Use these search engines to search for relevant corporate entities that will support your school fundraiser cause. You may also consider running ad on these search engines to raise awareness with potential corporate donors about the need to support your school fundraiser goal.
Expand your fundraiser outreach to corporate donors using social media
Since many potential corporate donors are looking online to learn more about the school fundraisers to support, it's only wise for your school fundraising team to start sharing information about it on your school's social media accounts and school or district websiteBoost the reach of your social media posts by running paid advertisements. Besides requesting donations, use your social media posts to keep your supporters updated on your current school fundraiser projects.
Share testimonials from the fundraiser beneficiaries, highlight donors who exceeded your school fundraiser mission, show your gratitude to all your school fundraiser supporters, and post all the vital information related to your fundraiser cause.
Approach the headquarters of corporate companies directly
If you visit a corporation’s website, look for links, which say something like "Community support," “Corporate giving,” or "Corporate social responsibility," and go through all the information there before contacting these companies for assistance. Avoid filling in an online form on the company website because it may look like a screening platform. It can quickly suffocate your message without receiving a response from your intended recipients, who may not have the time to read your message and instead choose to ignore it.
If you are in close proximity, you can visit the land-based headquarters of these corporate companies if you want to speak to someone in person regarding supporting your school fundraiser cause.
Try to find the right person to approach at the company's headquarters. You can inquire from the marketing department, the public relations department, the community affairs department, the public affairs department, the supplier diversity department, or the brand management department.
Always emphasize what you can offer to your corporate donors
Even though many companies will be willing to support your school fundraiser cause, the chances are high that they will also ask what they will receive in return. Will it be a top page placement of their company banner on your website or a sign at the car pickup line? Will they receive positive press and widespread recognition from a large audience?
Be specific in what you will offer your corporate sponsors. Include some figures to add weight to what your corporate donors will receive in compensation for supporting your cause.
In short, why should a corporate donor support your school fundraiser mission and your fundraiser team? The fundraising deal should not only be about your school but should benefit your corporate donors as well. Do this to attract more corporate donors to support your school fundraiser’s goal.
Whether or not you were successful in getting a corporation to donate to your fundraiser, it could be beneficial to follow up with each company. Contacting them could help raise awareness for your campaign in the future and may jumpstart the building of a relationship with a key contact in the company. If you did get the company to make a donation, follow up with a thank you note or phone call which provides the company with details on why their donation made a difference.
Use both modern and traditional means to find corporate donors who can support your school fundraiser. As the saying goes, “If you never ask, the answer is always no.”