Unlocking Small Nonprofits’ Power: Insights from Cause Marketing Expert Joe Waters

by Nov 13, 2023Blog, Inspirations, Resources

At Georgetown University’s New Strategies “Rising” Program, Joe Waters, the acclaimed authority on cause marketing, shared invaluable insights tailored to small nonprofits. With a focus on organizations operating within modest budgets, Joe’s expertise sheds light on the practical, achievable steps for small nonprofits to thrive in corporate partnerships and cause marketing. These organizations can establish lucrative and impactful collaborations by focusing on authentic connections, understanding scale, and leveraging success stories.

Here are some key takeaways that can empower small nonprofits in their partnership endeavors.

Realistic Expectations

Partnerships are not quick wins. In larger nonprofits, dedicated teams handle business development, marketing, and account management. However, for smaller nonprofits, it might just be you. I understand this, please focus on the warmest leads. Patience and a realistic timeline are key.

Knowing Your Scale

Please be aware of the scale of your organization. While major nonprofits like Children’s Miracle Network excel in corporate partnerships, corporate partnerships should be considered supplementary for smaller entities. Your primary revenue source likely comes from individuals, making them the primary focus.

Targeting Low-Hanging Fruit

Leverage existing connections within your donor and board member networks. Identify their professional affiliations and the businesses they are associated with. Their familiarity with and passion for your cause will serve as a solid foundation for potential partnerships.

Identifying Ideal Partners

Seek out companies that align organically with your mission. Whether it’s supermarkets supporting a food bank or CEOs who personally resonate with your cause, finding these “good fit” companies is crucial. Understanding their genuine connection to your cause increases the likelihood of a successful partnership.

Embracing Cause Marketing

Cause marketing can be more financially rewarding than sponsorship, especially with business-to-consumer (B2C) models. Tailoring your fundraising approach to each company’s unique assets is key. Understanding their business models and leveraging cause marketing can significantly boost your fundraising efforts.

Leveraging Success

After a successful campaign, showcase your achievements in a compelling case study. Request referrals from your partners to build on your success. Strong social proof and positive introductions significantly bolster your chances of securing future partnerships.

About Joe Waters

Joe Waters is a Massachusetts-based consultant specializing in forging impactful partnerships between nonprofits and businesses. Through his blog, Selfish Giving, he explores the world of cause marketing and shares insights. He currently teaches at Georgetown University, and drawing from 20 years in nonprofits, he has raised millions, authored three books, and shared his expertise through speaking engagements and contributions to various publications. He aims to bridge the gap between profit and purpose through powerful collaborations.

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