Three ways to get a business to back your charity

By Graeme Colman – Principal of Horizon Research  

Graeme ColmanGraeme Colman

It would seem like common sense but apparently many charities aren’t making the most of their chances of gaining support from New Zealand businesses. Recent studies undertaken by Horizon Research suggest some charities could improve their chances if they do these things:

 1. Start at the top

  • Company directors are making the decision to support a charity in 66% of cases, Chief Executives in nearly 60%, marketing departments in nearly 40%

2. Have a compelling cause and be trustworthy

  • On average, organisations are considering  3.2 factors in making a choice:
  • 52% consider whether the charity has a compelling cause
  •  40% say that it is important that they trust the people who run the charity.
  • 35% say that a key factor is that the cause aligns with their organisation’s capabilities or goals.

 3. Make the case properly

  • Tell them what they most want to know. Businesses say to state who you are, what you’re trying to achieve, what you need funds for, where else you have they sought fund, will the funding help the local OR national community?
  • Will you report back on “how/where the funds we gave them” – will be spent?
  • How much you want, if you’re a registered charitable organisation, if you have full-time or paid administration staff – and how much of the funding which is being asked for – will go towards staff and administration costs, and assurances on how much of each dollar given reaches the beneficiary and what goes to intermediaries and administration.

And while it may seem amazing to some, don’t repeat these mistakes reported by businesses

  • Don’t take money from one supplier and spend it with the donor’s competitor (without discussing it first).
  • Fail to align with or mention the donor in your activities.
  • Fail to put yourself in the shoes of those you seek assistance from but rather expect support – going in with an “unrealistic impression of businesses’ ability to give.”

 Oh, and perhaps the greatest omission

  • Not even saying thank you.
  • Horizon finds only about 6% of Kiwi businesses won’t support charity in some way, so make the most from a better approach.

 Graeme Colman

Horizon principal Graeme Colman is a specialist in designing, establishing and managing national online market research panels. These include nationally representative and specialist panels.

He established the 200 commercial information services provided through NBR Online (1997-2000). These included New Zealand’s first information-to-mobile telephone information service.

He has 36 years’ experience in research, public policy and business development, marketing, communications and media business management.