Strategies to Develop Effective Corporate Partnerships

“If you’ve seen one corporation, well you’ve seen one corporation.”

This quote from Erin Budde, SVP for Community Affairs at Wells Fargo Advisors, kicked off today’s Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) lunch program.  The event- Maximizing Corporate Sponsorships: Strategies to Develop Effective Partnerships– featured a panel of corporate funders that included Gateway Center for Giving members Kathy Reeves (Community Relations Manager, Enterprise Holdings), Jim Bafaro (Senior Manager of Global Corporate Citizenship, Boeing), Mike Carosone (Board Member, Boeing Employee Community Fund), and Erin Budde. These leaders spent the lunch stressing the importance of mission-fit and l0ng-term partnership to the audience of nonprofit development leaders.

The panel took on questions about capital campaign giving, event sponsorship, board member recruitment, and United Way giving.  Each of the companies on the panel has unique causes that they support and differing methods for determining how to allocate their money but what makes them all the same is that they care about the St. Louis community and they are on a permanent search to find more effective ways to make their charitable dollars go further.

If you’re a nonprofit what does this mean for you?  As Kathy Reeves explained, “Help me make the case.”  If you are an organization trying to get money from a corporation, especially if it is a new relationship, help her make the case to her leaders for why Enterprise should give to your cause. Making the case involves showing alignment between your project/organization and the company’s giving priorities and showing the company’s return on investment for those charitable dollars.  While not every company looks at metrics the same way in general they all want to understand how their contribution is going to be reflected in the community and what direct impact it is going to make. In addition to stressing the importance of aligning Boeing’s corporate giving with their five focus areas, Jim Bafaro stressed the company’s goal to be creative in the projects and organizations it funds.

Check out the Center’s Meet the Donor program next Thursday, 6/2 to hear more about effective partnerships. The topic for the program is collaborations and the arts and we have a great group of presenters prepared to speak about ways arts organizations, funders, and non-arts organizations can come together to effectively partner.

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