4 Tips for Building Relationships With Charitable Corporations w/ Jenni Hargrove

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November 7, 2021

Last Updated:

September 8, 2021

Want to learn the 4 tips for building relationships with charitable corporations? Look no further!

​In this 1-hour webinar (with 15 minutes Q&A), Jenni Hargrove, a charitable marketing coach and founder of Nonprofit Jenni, will share with you the 4 tips for building relationships with charitable corporations.

By the end of this Instrumentl Partner Webinar, you’ll be able to learn:

  • ​How to research corporations' giving priorities
  • How to understand differences between different giving programs (i.e., foundations vs. CSR programs vs. cause marketing programs)
  • Tips for beginning/maintaining relationships with key corporate contacts
  • How Instrumentl can save you time and errors in your grant tracking

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Create your Instrumentl account using the link above. Save $50 off your first month should you decide to upgrade when your trial expires with the code JENNI100.

​Jenni Hargrove is the founder of Nonprofit Jenni. She coaches nonprofit leaders looking to improve their engagement of supporters like donors, corporate sponsors, volunteers, and more.

Instrumentl Partner Webinars are collaborations between Instrumentl and its community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem grant professionals often have to solve, while also sharing different ways Instrumentl’s platform can help grant writers win more grants. Click here to save a seat in our next workshop.

Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.

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event - Grant Training Transcription

Will: Hi everyone and welcome to Four Tips for Building Relationships with Charitable Corporations with Jenni Hargrove. This workshop is being recorded and slides will be shared afterwards. So keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up email later in case you need to review anything from today. If it's your first time here at this free grant workshop is an Instrumentl partner workshop.

These are collaborations between Instrumentl and community partners to provide free educational opportunities for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem that you guys often have to solve while also sharing different ways that Instrumentl's platform can help grant writers win more grants.

Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. If you want to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place, we can help you do that. And you can set up your own personalized list of grant recommendations using the link on the screen here. Special shout out ahead in advance to Alfred, Chris, and [inaudible] today who shared this workshop with a friend and we are able to offer these trainings free of charge through the support of the inviting non-profit peers and colleagues like the three of them did today. Lastly, be sure to stick around for the entirety of today's presentation. At the end, we'll be sharing with you some raffles that we'll be having both from Instrumentl as well as from Jenni. More details to come after the presentation.

Now, with that housekeeping out of the way, I'm very excited to introduce Jenni, the founder of nonprofit. Jenni, you may have heard her podcast before. She coaches nonprofit leaders looking to improve their engagement of supporters like donors, corporate sponsors, volunteers, and more. We ask that should you have any questions, please include three hashtags in front of it to help it stand out in the Zoom chat. But Jenni, why don't you go ahead and take it away.

Jenni: So glad to be here. Thank you so much, Will. This is really exciting for me. As Will mentioned, if you've heard of me before it's probably because of my podcast, the Nonprofit Jenni Show.

I also work full-time as a consultant for nonprofits working on their marketing and fundraising strategy. So really excited today to talk about how to include corporate relationships in your fundraising strategy. And we're going to talk about how to form relationships with corporations that like to support nonprofits in different ways.

So like Will mentioned, if you have questions through the presentation, please feel free to put them in the chat. I'll do my very best to get to them in a timely manner, but I may save some of them for the end depending on where I am in the presentation. Today we're going to really focus on four tips for building relationships with corporations, but like to give back.

We're going to go ahead right into tip number one. First, this may seem obvious, but you want to find corporations that are actually likely to fund your mission. And there are ways to research whether corporations are likely to partner with your nonprofit based on their past actions and giving history.

You can actually look and see in a lot of ways, especially with the help of Instrumentl whether corporations have partnered with nonprofits like yours in the past, either through their corporate foundation or some sort of cause marketing campaign. A lot of times corporations brag, most of the time, they brag about the organizations that they support.

So you can even look on their corporate website to find their past giving actions. And that helps you just avoid wasting time pursuing relationships with corporations that are unlikely to support your cause. For example, I used to do a lot of work in Atlanta, Georgia and the big foundation there is the Coca-Cola Foundation. And every organization in Atlanta wants money from Coca-Cola because it's Coca-Cola. You know they have millions, billions of dollars to give.

But the thing is Coca-Cola has a very specific mission that they want to achieve with their foundation. They're not there just to give money to every nonprofit in Atlanta. They really want to make sure that the mission is aligned. I've listed here six different areas where you can look for alignment in where corporations are likely to put their money and their time.

First is their charitable mission statement. This, you can usually find on their website. Most corporations nowadays have a website where they're talking about, you know, it could be called corporate giving social responsibility, ways we give back. Some sort of webpage on their corporate website and they'll tell you exactly what types of missions they like to support.

For example, most of the time it aligns directly with the products they sell. Most grocery stores support nonprofits that work to end hunger because they have those resources available. You also want to look, though, at the geographic areas that the company serves because another thing that I see a lot of nonprofits do all the time is just Google what are the 100 biggest corporations in America and then go after all of them for their money. But most corporations want to put their money in the communities that they actually serve -- where they have physical store locations, where their headquarters is located, or even hubs where they have a bunch of employees working.

And that's really easy to find, you may say, well, I don't know where Whole Foods has a bunch of employees working, but what you can do is go to their career options. You can go to their jobs page and just see where their jobs are located. And that's how you can get an idea of where their employees work. You also want to make sure that corporations are aligned with their financial and time commitment expectations because some organizations really lean more toward, we just want to write you a check and be done with it and say that we've gotten our corporate social responsibility out of the way.

Whereas sometimes companies, they maybe don't have as many financial resources as other big corporations, but they do have a lot of time that they want to give, whether that's in the form of pro bono support or volunteer hours, something like that. Or just even more intensive partnerships where they're getting super creative with the types of support that they have.

For example, I used to live in Nashville for 10 years and the Nashville Zoo does a lot of benefits with corporations where the corporation decides that they want to have an animal-themed event and they host it at the zoo, or they have an exhibit at the zoo that they name after their corporation.

And that's extremely time-intensive. So you want to just look at the projects that they have listed on their corporate social responsibility page on their website to get an idea of what they're looking for. One of the most important things you want to look for is a shared connection. I maybe should have even put that as top of the list here, because a lot of times corporations have so many nonprofits that are vying for their time, their attention, their money.

It really comes down to do you have a foot in the door already? Do you have a board member, a major donor, a volunteer who works for a particular corporation? Or has relationships with that corporation's decision-makers and you're able to get a foot in the door to ask for their support. Actually, just yesterday, this was the funniest story. I heard from a nonprofit leader that I work with, and sorry, my dog is snoring right behind me. I have six dogs. Fun fact. So sorry about that. But I actually had somebody who told me that their sister's hairdresser's husband had a connection at a corporation, and that's how they were able to get a foot in the door. It was super random, but you're talking with your hairdresser in the chair for like an hour or however long it takes to get your hair done.

And they just really formed that connection. So those connections can be anywhere. And I really encourage you to make that one of your top priorities when you're spending time on certain corporations to pursue them for a relationship. And then finally you want to make sure that the type of support you need is what a corporation wants to provide.

The reason I say this is I've noticed that some corporations, like I mentioned, they just want to write a check and be done with it. But some corporations, they only will give their support in the form of in-kind donations. So, for example, if you have a local grocer, they may not be willing to give any money to charity, but they do have a lot of produce that's about to go bad, that they want to donate to a food pantry at the end of the day.

It's really important to look at how corporations want to give so that you aren't wasting your time on a relationship that is not going to end up giving you what you're looking for. In terms of what corporations may want to give, here are six forms of support that you might want to look at and just keep in the back of your mind as you're researching corporations that might want to support you.

Obviously a lot of corporations have foundations where they give grants to nonprofits. Sometimes they may not have a foundation per se, but they do have some sort of grant-making process, or it's just a regular donation that they'll give you. A lot of corporations, as you probably know, like to sponsor things.

So maybe they're sponsoring a fundraising event that you have coming up. Maybe they're sponsoring something specific, like, I know organizations that like to sponsor the creation of tech centers at libraries or at after-school programs. And then you can get as creative, as I mentioned, like before with the Nashville Zoo where they're actually sponsoring just a short-term exhibit or event that's going on, but doesn't necessarily have to do with fundraising.

Next, this is a really big one nowadays. I saw a few people talk about trends. Corporations really are looking for relational ways to give back. Some of them want to give in the form of a check and those corporations usually have a foundation to do that. But if you're talking with a corporation directly, not with their foundation arm, they're usually looking for cause marketing.

And what causes marketing means is that a corporation wants to partner with you for a marketing campaign that's going to be mutually beneficial. So it's going to grow the awareness of both your brand and the corporation's brand. For example, you might notice around breast cancer awareness month, this is the easiest example, everything turns pink, right? And that's because companies like to go to Susan G. Komen or some other sort of breast cancer awareness organization and make a donation in exchange for the opportunity to use that organization's branding information on their products for that month. And that is mutually beneficial because Susan G. Komen or whatever the foundation is, the money for that licensing deal. And the corporation gets to look really good and help to increase their presence by catching people's attention with that pink basketball or whatever it is. That's just one form of cause marketing. There's endless ways that you could do that.
I mentioned already in-kind donations. So like grocery stores donating their food at the end of the day. Maybe it's a clothing company and they're donating all of their clearance stock to a homeless shelter or something like that. In-kind donations can really mean anything that's not monetary. That could also come in the form of pro bono support.

Like I, as a marketing consultant, will offer a few pro bono hours a month to a couple of my clients. Employee volunteer groups are really, really big. This is challenging now because of COVID, but a lot of companies, they will only give back to nonprofits that help them host what are called employee give back days or employee volunteer groups, where on one day of the year, all their employees get the day off to go volunteer for a couple select nonprofits.

That's something that's really important to offer to corporations now, because that's something that they're looking for. And a big example of that is Habitat for Humanity. They prioritize donors who are willing to give money and fall into your time when they're looking for their builds. And often they will actually bring in to build after that a corporation that is bringing their volunteer group in.

I know Home Depot is one of the biggest sponsors of Habitat for Humanity, and they'll have Home Depot days where it's just Home Depot employees building an entire house, which is really cool. But that can even look like something as simple as we need employees to come and, you know, mow our lawn today or repaint a wall or I've seen a professional organizer, associations come in and just reorganize a warehouse for nonprofits. So that's really cool.

And then finally, contracted work. This is something a lot of nonprofits forget about, but this is a form of earned revenue for your organization. It's not a donation. There's a really great example. I have a nonprofit that I work with. They're one of my clients. They are all focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and their whole mission is to get corporations to adopt meaningful DEI programs so that companies will actually hire a speaker from that nonprofit to come in and host trainings for their employees on DEI to make sure that they have high quality DEI training. And that is a service the nonprofit provides for a fair market rate from corporations. So that's the last form of support that I want to talk about, but I'd love to hear from you guys.

What's the most creative way that you've partnered with a corporation? I'd love for you to put that in the chat and just give people some ideas, because there are just so many creative things that you can do with corporations. And then I want to talk for a minute. I mentioned before, I have a podcast and I've talked about all of these forms of support on my podcast before, but I recently put out this really interesting episode about employee volunteer groups.

There is a trial lawyer association in Los Angeles. And they actually put together a group volunteer project every single month. And that is a lot of planning. And so I asked her, you know, what types of events are the most successful? Where do volunteers get most engaged versus which ones do they just kind of stand around doing nothing and not really understand your mission?

So if you want to listen, you can scan the QR codes on your screen to listen on Apple or Spotify or you can just search for the Nonprofit Jenni Show on whatever podcast app you normally use. Susan, I just saw that you mentioned an athletic field. I'd love to hear is that like the corporation sponsored the athletic field and they got naming rights or how exactly did that work?

I also wanted to point out, I mentioned before that Instrumentl is a really great tool for determining whether a corporation is aligned with your mission. And I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. So there are two ways that I like to use Instrumentl to find out if a corporation is willing to sponsor one of the non-profits that I'm working with. This is the easiest one. You can just go to instrumentl.com and start a project and tell Instrumentl, okay, these are the things I need to get funding for. This is my mission. This is what this funding would be used for. And they'll come up with a list of hundreds of grants that are the best fit grants for that need.

And you can filter those grants just to look at corporate giving. And that can be really useful because you want to build a relationship with those corporations. You don't just want to be sending them an application for a grant. And so once you filter based on corporate funders, then you can click each individual funding opportunity and see all of this information I've highlighted on her screen.

You can see what types of things they normally like to sponsor. This one has sports and athletics. And so, I bet Susan would have been a good fit for this grant based on that. You can also see what types of applicants they look at, where they're looking to put their funding because I mentioned before, you want to make sure you're in the same geographic area that they want to fund, and you can see any other kind of requirements for that sponsorship or that donation that you're looking for.

This is a really cool thing that I get really nerdily excited about. If you have no idea where to start when you're looking for corporate foundations and you're just like, there's thousands of them out there. I have no idea what corporations to even start researching, Jenni. This is what I really love. And Instrumentl is not paying me to get this excited. I'm just really excited about it. So you can think about other nonprofits that are similar to yours. And search for that non-profit's name. So if you're a food pantry that's in Chicago, you can look up food pantries that are near Chicago. You can look up food pantries that are in other big cities like Chicago, and you can see a list of all of the grants that they've received recently from different foundations.

And realize, oh, these foundations like to fund food pantries so I can go after those foundations as well. That's a really cool way for you to just get a jumpstart on where your research city and start. Okay. That was all for tip one. And I know that was a lot of information. I'm going to take a quick water break and see if you guys want to type in any questions in the chat before I move on to tip two.

Just a reminder that tip was to research corporations that are going to be a good fit for your mission.

Will: Jenni, we did have some questions. I'll feed them for you. Richard, the first question was if you've noticed corporations trending for more transactional or do you see a move towards more relationship-based giving?

Jenni: Always relational. And the reason that I say that, we'll get into that further in the presentation, but even if a corporation does just want to start off with a transactional relationship, they're just like, you know, I just want to donate money for the tax benefit, or I just want to donate money just so I can brag that we do have a give-back component to our corporation.

It's up to you to make sure that that corporation continues to fund you and not any other nonprofit that falls into your category. And the way that you do that is with relationship-building. This is the same kind of concept we talk about when we talk about peer to peer fundraising with your nonprofit.

What peer to peer fundraising is, is, you know, Will loves my nonprofit. And so I say, hey, Will, will you go tell five of your friends to donate to us? Will's five friends are not donating to my nonprofit because they care about my mission. They're donating to my nonprofit because they care about Will. And in the same way, corporations may not be donating to me because they care about my nonprofit.

They're donating to my nonprofit usually because of that shared connection factor that I mentioned earlier in the presentation. But now it's up to me to get Will's five friends to care about my nonprofit. It's up to me to get these corporations to care about my nonprofits specifically and know exactly where their money is going. More than that, not just where their money is going, but the impact that they're having, it's not, you know, you guys helped us to buy 10,000 books.

The impact is you are inspiring children to learn to read. You are creating all kinds of life options for them because we know based on research that if children aren't literate by the time they're in fourth grade, that their life circumstances, their outcomes just decline. So you want to make sure corporations know exactly the impact that their money is having so that they keep wanting to have that impact in the future.

Will: Got it.

Jenni: Hope that answers the question.

Will: Then Danielle asked, should you outreach the local program manager at a corporation first or start at the national foundation level?

Jenni: I would say both because those are, especially if we're talking about giant corporations, those are two different people who probably never crossed paths.
And there's also a difference between a corporate foundation and a corporation. The corporate foundation is a completely separate entity. They can both help you to get in the door with one another. That's another shared connection you might have. For example, the organization I mentioned before, that has a focus on DEI. They usually start with corporate sponsorships or with going in for earned revenue. They start because a corporation asks them to come and speak to their employees and they pay them for that. But then they use that as a foot in the door to get into the corporate foundation and make that introduction.

Will: Got it. And then Shawna just asked a question of what importance should you place on how corporate donors values or missions are aligned with your nonprofit? How do you go about making sure there isn't a disconnect there?

Jenni: Lots of importance, I mean, if the corporation doesn't have the same values or mission as your organization, it's not really worth pursuing them especially because a lot of corporate people, they're just really nice. So they won't tell you straight up, hey, we're never going to fund your organization. They're just going to be very nice and listen to you tell your story. So you want to narrow down the ones that have an aligned mission. The way you can make sure that there isn't a disconnect is just to be bold and ask. Just to straight up ask them what are your values?

What's your charitable value? What's your charitable focus this year? We'll talk about this later in the presentation as well. What's your charitable focus and am I aligned with that? And if I'm not, you know, do you know other people or other corporations who would be interested in hearing my story? And make sure you know that it's not a waste of your time to find out that there's a disconnect because if there is a disconnect with the corporation, you have to remember, you're also talking to a human person and that human person has a different mission and values than the corporation.

So the corporation may not be interested in funding your animal rescue because they are most focused on spay and neutering this year, but that doesn't mean that the person you're talking to isn't deeply passionate about hurt animals that need to be rescued.

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Awesome. I'm going to save Kathleen's question for a little later. Two quick questions related to Instrumentl I'll tackle.

Christina was asking if there's a database that provides a list of corporations that support religious organizations that educate the poor or care for the homeless. She was curious because not many support religious entities. You can set up a project in Instrumentl using Jenni's link, which is instrumentl.com/jenni.

And when you do that, you'll select "yes" for faith-based organization and then select what religious affiliation you have. And then we will output for you corporate as well as private opportunities that might fit your homeless-related project. Krista also asked if Instrumentl has data on charitable foundations, private and corporate.

We do, Krista. When you set up your project, you can go by Funder Type and you will see a dropdown in which you can filter for just the private and the corporate ones. And these are going to be typically open and active opportunities that you can start to pursue today. So, that's just some quick questions related to Instrumentl there, and then I'll pass it back to you for tip number two.

Jenni: Yeah. And can I say one more thing about the religious organizations question? A lot of times corporations aren't going to support religious institutions sometimes, but that doesn't mean that they are opposed to supporting faith-based organizations. So for example, I work with a faith-based food pantry as one of my clients, and they get corporate supporters that don't want to support religious organizations.

They just make it clear they're not proselytizing with their mission. Okay. So tip number two. Keep those questions coming, you guys, this is great. All right. So tip number two, we talked about how it's good to have a shared connection with a corporation. So now you're going to ask them for an introduction and you really want to get an introduction if possible, between you and a decision-maker at the corporation, as opposed to somebody who's kind of lower down like an executive assistant.

We're going to talk about which forms of introduction you can use between your shared connection and that corporation. It's really important to specify when you ask a board member, a volunteer donor, when you ask them to make an introduction with you in a corporation, it's very important to specify how you want that introduction to happen.

Especially nowadays in the midst of remote working with COVID-19, a lot of people will automatically assume that you're talking about an email introduction, but an email introduction is not the best way to get connected with someone for the first time. Corporations are approached by non-profits all the time asking for their support.

So you really want to form a personal unique connection right off the bat. If possible, you want a face to face meeting and the reason is, this is probably obvious but you want them to see your passion and warmth come across. And that's really difficult to do through an email or even a video conference.

Although hopefully you guys can see that I'm very passionate and warm. There is probably some sort of, even if it's very, very slight, there's a delay between the sound and the visual, or maybe you're having a bad WiFi day. You just can't control those circumstances in a video conference the way that you can in a face to face meeting.

But for example, I'm located in Colorado. If any of you guys wanted to meet with me, there's just not a way for me to do that in person, if you're not in Colorado. And so a video conference is the next best option because they can still see your facial expressions. If you're talking with your hands, there's a lot of scientific research that shows that talking with your hands helps to build a rapport better than just if you're sitting on them. And you just can't get tone across in an email as well. If an email introduction is all you can do, that's your next best option. Fairly rarely you'll have somebody say that they're not comfortable doing any type of introduction for you.

Maybe they're really shy or they don't know their supervisor that well, in that case, I would ask that person, hey, can I write an email on behalf of you to just get my foot in the door with this corporate supporter? Talk about the impact that can have. One of our corporate supporters donates $10,000 a year and that can help us to get this many meals to people.

Will, is it okay if I go to this corporation or the Coca-Cola Foundation and I say I'm emailing on behalf of Will Yang, the chair of my board of directors. And I'd really love to sit down and have a coffee with you and share my story and see if there's an opportunity for us to collaborate in the future.

That's the order of types of introduction that I would recommend. If you're trying to prepare for a face-to-face meeting for the first time, I know that can feel really intimidating, even if you're preparing just for an email introduction for the first time, that can feel really intimidating.

So I recently put out an episode, episode 98. You can go on your favorite podcast app. Look for the Nonprofit Jenni show, scroll to episode 98. And it's all about what to do in your first meeting with a corporate decision-maker and then what to do afterwards. Really recommend that you listen to that.

It's about a 30-minute episode. All right, so let's move on to tip number three, you've researched a corporation. You've gotten a shared connection to make an introduction. Now you want to be bold and be clear with your questions and next steps. Do not be shy about asking for a donation, a sponsorship or some other form of partnership.

Like I mentioned before, almost every corporation has some sort of give back program. Now it's just a matter of, are they giving back to you or to another nonprofit? And the answer is they are giving to another nonprofit if you don't ask them to give to you. So be bold. They have the option to say no. They know they have the option to say now you don't need to give them excuses to say no. They know that they have that option.

They also know they have the option to say, you know what? We can't swing a $10,000 partnership this year. We can only do 7,000 and that's totally fine. You'll be happy with $7,000. And they know that. So be bold and clear. Maybe you don't know what questions to cover in a first meeting or what your next step should be. Let's talk about that for a moment. I already mentioned, you should go ahead and just straight up ask. What is your charitable focus this year and get as specific as possible. Because, for example, going back to the grocery stores, maybe they care about ending hunger. That is a really broad topic. That's a really broad mission.
There's so many ways we can try to combat hunger. We can try to get into food deserts. We can care about kids in school with their breakfast. We can care about seniors who can't leave their homes for whatever reason. So get as specific as possible. One of the ways you can get specific is to ask, you know, what are some other ways your corporation has supported that mission last year, the year before?

And what did you really like about those partnerships? It's important to ask these questions because you'd never know. Guys, this is going to be a little controversial. You never want to go in with a sponsorship deck, like a pre-made sponsorship deck into your first meeting. That's going back to the relational thing.

That's not relational. You're not showing, hey, we want a unique partnership just with your corporation. You're saying we just want relationships with all the corporations. We don't know anything about you or what you want in a partnership, but here's what we want. That's just very presumptuous. So ask questions about what they're looking for so you can create a proposal just for them and say, I heard what you said. I heard you really want to serve seniors who are homebound with their food needs. And we have a program for that, or we're building out a program for that. And here's how you can really get involved in a meaningful way. Before you leave any meeting, make sure you set up a next meeting to review partnership opportunities.

Do not just leave that on the table. Don't say I'll get back to you. Come up with your next meeting, whether it's to look at partnership opportunities or just have a check-in in the middle of the year, leave with another meeting on the calendar because you are not a corporation's top priority. You're just not. Their top priority is making money with their products and services.

And that's good because that means they have money to give to you. But you have to know that you're going to fall to the wayside if you don't put your best foot forward. And then finally at the end of every meeting, I would ask this every meeting, no matter how often you're meeting with them. Who else do you know? Have you met anyone recently who would like to hear about our story?

Because that is going to get you leads to your next corporate relationship. All right. So we've researched a corporation, we've gotten a connection. We've had our introduction and our first meeting, we've been bold and ask for what we want. Now you need to follow up consistently and frequently, like with any stakeholder, any regular donor, you don't want to come around just once a year asking them to give you more money.

You don't want every time you talk to them, you asking for money. You want this to feel like a two-way relationship. You want to make sure that you're following up with them to share the impacts of the gifts that they've had. But honestly, as a good rule of thumb, I would say you want to try and reach out to your corporate partners about once per month. If you feel like you can't swing that, at the very minimum once per quarter, but really you want to try for once per month.

And I know that that sounds intimidating because you may be thinking like, I don't even have things to say once per month. There isn't going to be that much to change month to month with my mission. So I have some ideas for you. Here is what you can talk about when you are doing your follow ups once per month.

First, this is one a lot of nonprofits forget to do, but share stories about other corporate partners. For example, if you have a grocery store that you're working with, let them know, maybe not about another grocery store. You don't want to be talking about their competitors, but maybe you can talk about a consulting firm or an equipment company, some other partnership that you have with another corporation and let them know this is what we do for our partners. Show them pictures of your most recent events, where you have pictures of all of the partners' logos on your stage or you're showing that you just posted about them on social media and you've got really good engagement on that post from your followers.

Show them proof that you are giving back to other partners and that other partners are giving back to you because I'm sure you guys have all experienced this. People want to be on a winning team. They are more likely to donate to your campaign if you've already met half of your fundraising goal, which is why you have silent donors a lot of times at the beginning of a fundraiser.

Corporate partners are the same way. They're more likely to be excited about giving if they know other people are excited about giving. So share those stories. Obviously share news and updates about your impact. Let them know if you have something exciting coming up, let them know, hey, our summer reading program, it's about to start and I was just thinking of you because we were able to use a lot of the money that you donated in order to support this summer reading program that we have. Let them know what's going on. If it's appropriate for your mission, give them behind the scenes opportunities that you wouldn't be able to give to just any Joe Schmoe who's walking down the street.

For example, if you have an animal rescue, that's a really easy way. You don't have to worry about confidentiality stuff because animals are notoriously out there on blast and they don't care about their confidentiality. You can invite corporate partners to come and meet a sea turtle that you just rescued from getting hurt by a boat, and you can walk them through the process of how their donation is making a difference for that sea turtle.

Maybe it's not appropriate for you to introduce people to beneficiaries because you have a domestic violence shelter. Well, when you have the facility closed for cleaning or something, bring them in for a facility tour because that's another way to make your mission come alive. When they walk through and see here our housing for our domestic violence victims. Here's a kitchen where we teach them nutrition classes. That really shows in real life what their dollars are doing. Give them really cool invitations to volunteer. Remember again, corporations are made up of individual real life human beings. So even though the corporation may not have a give back day, that individual person you're talking to, who is helping to facilitate getting that check to you, they might want to come and volunteer with your organization.

And that's another way for them to just feel that much more impacted by your mission and like they're part of that impact. And finally invite them to events and meetings you have going on. This is not just your fundraising events, but also maybe you have a lecture coming up. Maybe you have a meeting with another prospective corporate partner.

Maybe you can bring someone from Coca-Cola to another prospective partner meeting to say, hey, this nonprofit, Jenni's nonprofit, has done a really awesome job of helping us get in front of her donors. She really has gone above and beyond to help us meet these animals that she's helping to rescue. And I think it would be really cool if you joined our corporate partner team and you got on board with Jenni's nonprofit. It's the same thing as peer-to-peer fundraising, but with corporate partners instead.

All right. Let's see. Will, do you have some more questions that we want to get to?

Will: I do have some new questions. So the first question I saved was from earlier in today's presentation, which is from Kathleen. What trends are you seeing and expecting in corporate giving for 2022 and beyond?

Jenni: Yeah, honestly, I I'm always asked about trends. The same things hold true. Relationships are really important, showing the proof of your impact of your mission, not just the proof of your impact of your mission, but also demonstrating we followed through on everything we promised and more last year with your organization. All of those tried and true tactics are still just as important in 2022.

If anything, I would say bigger trends are that corporations are more aware of equity issues now especially because of the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19, they both really highlighted inequities in our systems. And so, equity is a really big buzzword right now. People really care about hunger and just basic needs support because COVID-19, and people really want to steer away from controversy not just because they're scared, but because COVID-19 has been really divisive for our country. That's just a fact. And so if you can show that you're bringing people together and that your mission is relatable for every single human being and really talk about shared experiences. We all have the shared experiences of wanting to be a good parent or wanting to be a good family person.

We all have the shared experience of we don't want to feel left out. We want to feel like we're supported. So if you can really focus on those shared values that are unifying for the entire human race, then that's what corporations are looking for.

And then Sasha asked, your podcast looks awesome. Are there any other podcasts you'd recommend that tap into corporate or institutional support?

Jenni: Specifically for corporation institutional support? That's a tricky one. I can't say anything for that. I can say just for nonprofit leaders in general because every podcast has kind of a bigger theme. Like my theme is marketing management and development strategies.

So corporate support is not the only thing I talk about. It's just something I talk about a lot. Another podcast that I really recommend for nonprofit leaders is called the Path to Non-Profit Leadership. It's by Dr. Patton McDowell. And he just talks about all kinds of different ways to improve your professional development and professional growth.

Will: Awesome. And then Jared and Dr. Brown asked a similar question, which is around those monthly check-ins that you send funders. Do they have to be individual emails or is it okay to send them a personalized newsletter that might be different from the general one that the public gets? So to what extent are you personalizing that sort of monthly outreach to the funders?

Jenni: You want them to feel like they are the only person receiving that update. You don't have to be giving a different update to every person, but you want them to feel like you made it just for them. So what I normally do is I'll pull up like a word document. I'll type up the update that I'm sending or type up the invitation to this really fun volunteer opportunity. Then I'll copy and paste that into the email and just add a sentence at the beginning that lets each individual person know that you know who they are as a person. "I loved what you posted on LinkedIn the other day." "It was really cool to see you with that conference that I went to." By the way, here's this update that I have.

Will: Awesome. If you have any other questions, feel free to type them into the chat, but I think we're all caught up in terms of some questions from folks in the chat.

Jenni: And I just wanted to share this last slide so you can listen to my podcast or get to know me. I really love to talk with nonprofits individually and just share about your mission. So if you want to shoot me an email, please feel free to do that or connect with me on social media. Last thing I wanted to talk about is if you're looking for a professional development community with other nonprofit leaders, I have this really cool book club. And I hope that you'll check it out and join and read some professional development books with our community.

Will: Awesome. And with that, we do have a raffle related to that book club, as well as Instrumentl. We have a feedback form for today's workshop. You can go ahead and submit your thoughts for the workshop today. You can go ahead and enter for the raffle for membership to the first month, I think, of the book club and then along with a one month Instrumentl subscription.

And with that, we're going to open up to see if folks have any questions. But thanks so much for attending live today. With some of the leftover time, I'll share some of the things for the folks that are already in Instrumentl that might be useful as we wait for some questions to come in to help with applying some of the tips that Jenni went over today.

If you enjoyed this grant workshop as well, I do also want to share that our next one's going to be on February 3rd. That'll be covering how to level up your prospecting in under 60 minutes. We'll be hosting that with ourselves. And then on the 16th, we'll also be covering wow your funders with your website, the ultimate checklist that your nonprofit should be running through with Elevation web which is a web design consulting firm that works solely for nonprofits. And so you can register for those on our events calendar. And if you have any questions, feel free to type them into the chat. A few things just that I wanted to speak to that Jenni mentioned. When you're creating your project on Instrumentl, some folks asked about where the private and corporate opportunities are.

That's going to be in your Matches tab under the second dropdown called filter. And then what you're going to look for is, are you going to look for Funder Type. So this is where you're going to see corporate and private. So what you can do is you can filter like Jenni did earlier in the screenshot for just corporate opportunities and what this is going to do, it's going to factor in the fact that I have an environmental project, it's going to take into consideration where my product space out of and then what I can do is I can filter for the corporate opportunities and start to work my way through evaluating whether or not these are good fits for me. So Jenni shared some bits in terms of seeing if there's an existing connection.

Well, that's going to be where you're going to go into the Funder section on the 990 section. And then you're going to scroll down into the section right below the contact information section, which is going to be Key People. And this is where you're going to see whether or not there's potentially somebody on the board or somebody within this organization that you might want to leave a note for to reach out to.

So maybe for example, I know Robert. So I would say connect with Robert. Leave that as a note, and then you can continue to do some of the research that she went over in terms of finding funder alignment, too. So that's what you can do when you start to filter down your projects is you're going to sort it by the Funder Type, and that will allow you to isolate for the corporate opportunities on Instrumentl. Same thing goes for the earlier question on private. All you do instead of corporate is you'd select private. And then what you can also do is you can just work your way through this and then start to see some of the information about the opportunity itself.

And that will help answer some of the questions earlier in the chat in terms of aligning funder interest to the mission of what you are doing as well. So you want to look for an explicit reference of something that feels really similarly aligned to what you're working on. If you feel like you're stretching it, you probably are, and it's not a good fit.

So hide those opportunities in the case where you have that situation. I got a question. Can you filter it by funders, corporations, that fund intermediaries? You can't filter past what I've shown you here. So what you can do is you can filter further based off funding use, but we don't have the functionality to do what you're asking for there.
For example, I want it to filter further by funding use. I could also add that to the filter. Awesome. And then I'm going to see if there's any other questions. Somebody asked me in a direct message, is this taped for reference? Yes. We record these and we'll be releasing the replay later today as well.

And then, let's see if any other folks are coming in with questions, I'll leave it open for a minute or so. Some other things that I wanted to comment on aside from this filter section is when you start to identify folks that you have a past relationship with or that connect with your mission.

What you can do is you can start to set up your task in your tracker. So once you have your tracker in place, what you can do, for example, is you can start to build this sort of process of the tips that Jenni went over today. So if, for example, we wanted to add the task of asking around for introductions. We can set that in place and then choose a team member to assign that to and put that all in place in Instrumentl. So remember that slide where she went over like face-to-face, meeting video conference, email introduction on behalf of et cetera, you could set all of those sorts of key processes up in place.

And what'll happen is once you have saved an opportunity into the tracker, once a week, you are going to get notified on all the upcoming tasks, as well as the deadlines for the things you're working on. And that really helps speak to that third tip around being bold, being clear with your questions, and with your next steps.

And so if, for example, you want you to review the slides later in the day and you want to work those initial questions into your notes section, you can do that up here, where it might be as Jenni's question on, you know, what is your charitable focus this year, right? And that'll essentially be ready for you as well.

So just a few additional ways you can bring in the work that you're already doing into a central location. Cool. It looks like folks are good. Robbie asked a question. What makes Instrumentl different from other grants softwares? That's a great question. The best way to check that out is on our website, we do have a breakdown of how we serve nonprofits as well as current writing consultants, but in the case where you're looking for specifically how we're different. In the bottom footer, there's a page that I'll link to in the chat, that's going to be instrumentl.com/compare. Here you can learn a little bit more about specifically what makes us different, but just to go over a few distinct things that only Instrumentl can do, the first thing is we roll up all of your reminders into dues, into one single email, and also keep an eye out for those active opportunities for potential changes to those deadlines.

We pull in all of that 990 data. So key insights like percentage of new grantees versus repeat guarantees, what funding areas are being funded the most, connections of what Jenni was showing about if you wanted to look up a non-profit similar to yours and see who's funding them, we do that sort of reverse search as well.

You're going to get intelligent matches to funders and opportunities, both on the side of active opportunities, as well as from a relationship building side. So, if you're looking to break down specifically potentially your six to 12-month grants calendar, you can do that. And you'll also see a bunch of things in terms of the tracking side of things.

Most other tools will only cover prospecting or tracking, but they won't do everything. And you'll see things in terms of just some of the workflow improvements of bringing all your work into one place. The unique insights, for example, I'm pretty sure no other tool out there does something like breaking down new grantees versus repeat grantees or the breakdowns of what those grant amounts are.

And then you'll have these safe searches. So once you set up a project, once it's pretty much always running for you. As opposed to other databases where you have to go back to your search, go through your work again. All of your work is saved in Instrumentl for a multi-year time horizon. And then really cool thing for some of the consultants that might be in the room, as well as your folks that have to report to their boards, generating a custom PDFs.

These are really nice in terms of reporting to your boss, the progress that you've made on your work. So just to kind of show you a quick example, if I want to just generate a report on my mental health project, choose just the ones that I'm researching or in progress. I can do that. And in a matter of clicks, I've got a customized PDF that is ready to send off to my team.

So that'll answer most of that question. Josephine asks what's the cost. You can check that out when you are logging into your free account. So go to instrumentl.com/jenni and create your free account. And it'll be on the left-hand side where it says pricing. That's where you'll be able to check out the pricing there.

Nan asked the new funder financial information is extremely helpful when you have information, but I'm wondering if that information is frequently unavailable for some matches. The old 990 they're usually scanning cannot be blown up to be illegible. Yeah. That's something that in general, pretty much any tool is going to have a difficulty with until this upcoming year.

So what happened in 2021 is the IRS started requiring everybody to digitally file until that point, the data, it's somewhat, it kind of is at the discretion of what the IRS gives us. So that's unfortunately something where it's going to just improve as time goes on, because, you know, as we all know, the IRS gets to a later point in their computer world a little bit later than everyone else.

And so, that's something that should be improving with the 2021 data that's coming in in the next year. Great. And then I think Jenni's waiting for Katherine to ask about agencies and then we'll see if there's any other questions that might come in otherwise we're good for the day.

And also just as a general reminder, as a general announcement, the next workshop that Instrumentl will be hosting, it will be hosted by my colleague Chandler. So he's a new team member to the Instrumentl team, and he'll be the face of a lot of these workshops as well as we go through the year. So I just wanted to give a preview for folks that regularly attend these.

Awesome. Well, thanks so much for attending everybody. Lynn, it's so great to hear that you've been having a great time with Instrumentl. Thanks so much for your support and yeah, if you need any help, anybody needs any help with your Instrumentl account, feel free to reach out to us. We always have our team on standby for you.

And just so you know, the recording will be sent after today's recording. So we're going to wrap things up from here. Thanks so much for spending the last hour with us and we'll see you guys next time.

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