I recently wrote about why lapsed donors (2+ years of non-giving) aren’t great prospects (only about 2% of them ever give again), and instead gave some ideas of better groups of prospects that might be hiding in plain site.

Two groups in particular are ripe for the picking. They are:

  • employees of current, long-time sponsors
  • employees of current, long-time vendors

Why these groups

If you’re on the new donor acquisition trail, convincing a relative stranger to support your mission can be tough. After you’ve taken care of your current donors (stewardship!), your first task should be looking for a connection to potential new donors.

Long-time vendors and sponsors represent a great pre-existing connection. You likely have one or more advocates within each organization, with potentially deep and meaningful affinities for your cause.

After all, why else would they be a long-time corporate partner?

If those advocates have leadership or other influential positions within their respective companies, they might be able to pass on that affinity to their employees on your behalf.

How to get in front of them

Rather than thinking of these employees as another list that can be acquired and solicited, instead attempt to broker an authentic introduction.. The goal isn’t simply to acquire names and contact info – it’s to have your advocate (re)-introduce you.

If your sponsor or vendor contact is willing, have them communicate company-wide who and what your organization is, why they have supported you, and how you can get involved.

It’s a win-win; employees will appreciation hearing why sponsorship dollars are spent on you (marketing spends are a often a mystery to the rank and file), and you get in front a new group of potential supporters.

Hear are a few more ideas you might consider:

  • schedule a lunch and learn where you can come in and make a presentation to employees
  • make volunteer opportunities known to your contact, and have them make the invitation
  • do the same for other fun events that your nonprofit organizes
  • host a dedicated “gratitude” event or private open house to thank the company for its corporate support

Be sure that your invitations are aligned with the employee demographics and values when possible.

Closing the recognition loop

For-profits love to be publicly recognized by the nonprofit organizations they support. The public relations and internal pride/morale benefits are invaluable to them.

If you receive support from a vendor or sponsor, don’t just thank their brand name and logo. Thank their employees, by name if possible. If you have a corporate volunteer group visit your facility or event, be sure to snap a photo and post it to social media (with their permission of course – they won’t say no – it will be a dream come true to their PR department).

Pitching relative strangers is always tough, whether via direct mail, email or in person. So any third-party advocacy you can get, the better.

Has your organization tapped into the employees of long-time vendors and sponsors? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!

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