We interviewed a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager to get her take on NPOs and the DO’s and DON’T’s of asking for Sponsorship and thought we would share them with you.
- You should always understand the strategy of the company you are speaking to and the reasoning behind the strategy. And if you get a meeting with representatives of a corporate, learn about their business – do your homework first. Know who you are meeting with!
- Timing is key. You might get lucky with ad-hoc funding every now and then, but companies set their budgets – especially CSI budgets – well in advance. Start communicating with a company 18 to 24 months ahead of time. Budgets can be finalised up to 6 months before a financial new year commences, and planning for these budgets can start 6 to 12 months ahead of that!
- Use the same buzz words as the company – align to their values.
- It is very important to ensure that you or your project/NPO operate in the community of the business. It’s no use asking for money for work in KZN if the business only operates in the Western Cape.
- Find out what the non-negotiables are in the corporations and very very importantly, understand their BBBEE requirements and how you fit in with these. Do the people or communities your serve fall under BBBEE? If yes, this could strengthen your cause.
- Know what the company is already doing – they may not be keen to repeat similar projects, but if you can align with some of the projects they are already involved with, all the better!
- Speak to the right person.
- Know when to give up. Persevere but remember that it’s not easy (for the corporate representative) to have to say no. Respect this, especially if the fit isn’t there.
- When developing your proposals, make sure they are not sloppy. Don’t be lazy and pay attention to detail, especially spelling and grammar; Breakdown your budget – break it into manageable portions – this might encourage companies to get involved with the NPO as they could agree to funding a part of the request if the full budgeted amount if not available.
- We want to work with people who work for and help themselves!
- When putting together a proposal, show who you are doing it for and what you are doing – have you identified the need. Show who the recipients are in your projects.
- Don’t just expect their (corporate representatives’) time – they are generally very busy and you shouldn’t take their time for granted.