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Posted: 2005-09-20 / Author: Sandra Sims

Boost Your Business By Partnering With A Non Profit Organization

Is your business looking for new and creative ways to gain publicity and build your customer base? Partnering with non profit organizations may benefit your business in many ways.

Why business owners and managers should consider supporting non profits as part of their marketing strategy:

1. Advertising opportunities are usually offered when non profit organizations request corporate sponsorship. Types of advertising may include a business card size ad in a program, a sign at an event, or your business name mentioned in radio or TV ads.

2. Partnering with non profits increases public relations and a general feeling of goodwill toward your company.

3. Participating in the planning of non profit events, attending an event, or volunteering your time increases your opportunities to meet potential customers.

4. Finally, there are tax breaks for donating money to a charitable cause. Check with your accountant for more details.

There are many ways that business owners can partner with non profit organizations in order to reach more potential customers.

Volunteering Your Time
Volunteering your time to help a non profit cause will give you an opportunity to develop relationships with non profit leaders and volunteers. You can work on volunteer committees, planning events, or even just stuffing envelopes. How about donating an hour or two to man the phones for MDA on labor day weekend, a public television drive or another telethon? How about staffing a booth at a school carnival? Savvy business people see such volunteer activities as opportunities to connect with other business people, network and build relationships with potential clients.

Donating Merchandise
Many non profit groups hold live and silent auctions or need door prizes for their events. This is an opportunity for you to show potential clients your merchandise or sample your services. This strategy works well for many types of businesses, here's some examples:

1. A photographer donates a gift certificate AND loans the NPO a large scale portrait from their portfolio. Even if someone does not win the gift certificate, they may be impressed with your style of photography and call to set up an appointment anyway!
2. Restaurants have an easy way out on this one! Donate a gift certificate to the non profit organization. The receiver gets to sample your food, service and atmosphere. Who knows, you may have just gained a customer for life!

Financial Donations
Donating a financial gift to a charity of your choice may have advertising and tax benefits as discussed earlier.

Attending Non Profit Events
Charities host a variety of fun events such as arts festivals, dinners, galas, casino nights and auctions. Participating in a charity fundraiser or other event will give you an easy way to donate financially to the group. Events also provide time to build relationships with other business people and potential clients, in a fun relaxed environment.

Donating Facilities
Does your company have a gym, banquet facility or auditorium? By donating or offering a reduced rate to non profit organizations, you may receive great public relations and word of mouth advertising benefits in return.

Here's a great example: A bowling center in Florida offers their facility for students to hold a bowl-a-thon. Students get per pin pledges prior to the event. According to owner, Lisa Ciniello, "The Bowling Centers do not make a lot of money, but we encourage these events as it gives great exposure. In our locations we charge $5.00 to $8.00 per student and no charge for rental shoes."

Connecting With Your Community
One of the best ways to find opportunities to donate to non profits and network with other business leaders is to join a civic club or chamber of commerce. These organizations meet 1-4 times per month in your local city. They usually have a small list of favorite charities or support their own foundations.

A few of the civic clubs that you may want to consider joining:
Optimist International: http://www.optimist.org
Lion's Club: http://www.lionsclubs.org
Kiwanis International: http://www.kiwanis.org

Finally, partnering with non profit organizations gives your business a way to reach out to the local community. Your business can contribute to the greater good and help many people, just by joining forces with charitable organizations.

About the Author: Sandra Sims has been fundraising for various charities for over 10 years. She is the publisher of Step By Step Fundraising e-zine, which will help you get maximum results from your charity fundraising campaign. Find out more at http://www.StepByStepFundraising.com


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