Corporate Sponsorships Benefit Everyone

Tags: Federation, Sponsors

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Jennifer B. Schwarz

Jennifer B. Schwarz | SPECIAL TO THE CJN

Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

Corporate sponsorships in the nonprofit sector: a win-win for your business, for nonprofits and for the community.

The voicemail arrived the day before we closed our annual fundraising effort. My colleagues and I were at the tail end of an intensive months-long push, and we were sapped. As I sat down to my desk that morning I saw the blinking red light indicating a voicemail.

It began: “Hey Jen, this is going to be a bizarre conversation, but I have a couple of extra dollars in my marketing chest that will be lost if not used by Dec. 31 …”

One of our longtime corporate sponsors had access to additional funding, immediately thought of us, and picked up the phone. His call gave our team a much-needed energy boost, as well as additional funds to support the good work of our organization.

What is corporate sponsorship? Corporate sponsorships support the efforts of nonprofit organizations. The support may be monetary or in-kind (goods and services). Attribution of the corporate sponsorship may take several forms, including recognition in marketing materials and at events. The nonprofit can utilize the funds to defer the cost of an event, support a specific program, or support operating expenses.

What’s in it for the corporate sponsor? Financially, there may be tax incentives for charitable contributions. The company may choose to support organizations whose mission is important to their board or an employee, building both employee morale and public good will. Additionally, the company benefits from associating their brand with a known and respected organization. There are many creative ways to include sponsors in fundraising efforts that maximize exposure – for example, a donation of matching funds by a sponsor for a dial-a-thon provides constant brand recognition for the sponsor and increased donations for the nonprofit.

What’s in it for the nonprofit organization? A sponsorship program provides an opportunity to be an ambassador to the business community, sharing your organization’s story. Connecting the organization with local businesses may help to develop volunteer opportunities. And of course, corporate sponsorship dollars provide vital funds to help nonprofits achieve their goals.

In an email conversation later that day, I thanked our sponsor for thinking of us. He stated that he appreciated our partnership and all that our organization does to serve both his clients and the community. He concluded his email: “We are proud to be one of the many.”

A successful sponsorship program meets the needs of both the nonprofit and the business. It is a combination of mutual goals and trusting relationships – a win-win for your business, for nonprofits and for the community.

Jennifer B. Schwarz is the manager, corporate sponsorship and foundations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Contact her at 216-593-2816 or

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