How to land corporate sponsorships for Giving Days

Knight Foundation recently hosted a webinar on Landing Corporate Sponsorships for Giving Days, a session targeted to the many foundations that organize these campaigns and part of an ongoing learning series. The topic was spurred by a review of Knight-funded Giving Days and input from peers who were interested in learning more about this type of funding and tactical lessons on how to get started with securing corporate sponsorships. As we look forward towards the sustainability of community foundation-lead Giving Days, topics like corporate sponsorship are just some ways community foundation organizers are looking to gain skills that can be used beyond a Giving Day event.

The webinar included lessons learned from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s partnership with Microsoft, Colorado Gives Day’s partnership with First Bank and tips from fundraising expert Shannon Doolittle.

Here are a few top takeaways:

Know the difference between sponsorships and partnerships: Here’s how Doolittle described it: Corporate sponsorships are a marketing objective, a way for business to build brand and increase sales. Partnerships, meanwhile, are a form of philanthropy and giving back.  While sponsorships come form the marketing budget and are often short term and transactional, partnerships are long-term propositions that take time to develop, often include additional value beyond providing dollars, and can be transformational for an organization.

Sponsors want to a return on their investment: Corporate sponsors are looking for marketing value, Doolittle said. “The more promotion, recognition, visibility and publicity you can give them, the better.” They are looking for exclusive naming opportunities, product integration and brand experience. Offer to customize the benefits too to major sponsors. You can also entice them, she said, by knowing your own value and reach, like the Seattle Foundation did in this infographic:


Corporate partners, meanwhile, can add value beyond dollars:  With their focus on giving back, partners can offer additional help. During Colorado Gives Day, their corporate partner First Bank offered several services in addition to funding, including providing their own IT staff to help with the campaign’s technology platform and evaluate any security risks to donors.  For the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, their corporate partner Microsoft hosted trainings, helped make videos, and encouraged their employees to be a part of the event. “Having a key thought partner like Microsoft has been huge for our event. I feel like we learned a lot for them,” said Mari Ellen Loijens of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Learn more by viewing the recording, and then sign up for our upcoming webinars on Building Your Foundation’s – and Your Giving Day’s – Brand and Reaching Diverse Donors.