Corporate Funding & Partnerships
Beyond providing gear donations for chapter or council banquets, many companies are very interested in providing financial and other resources to TU to help us achieve our mission. Chances are, in your local community, there are companies – or even national corporations with branches or headquarter offices – that have a corporate funding program you can tap into.
For corporate funding, there are several things to think through before getting started:
- Is this Company a Good Fit for TU?
There are many industries that make their profits through practices that may run counter to TU’s coldwater conservation mission. While partnering with them, or receiving funding from them for a project or program may be perfectly fine, and is something we do at a national level on many occasions, caution must be taken in how accepting support from such a company will be perceived by members and the general public. When looking at a potential corporation for funding or other support, if you have questions as to whether they are a good fit, contact your Volunteer Operations Staff. Examples of industries where it may be best to touch base with a TU staff member before proceeding are: oil and gas extraction or transportation, hydro-power, residential or commercial development, aquaculture, agriculture, mining.
- Does Our “Ask” Match their Interests?
Many companies support or sponsor local nonprofit events and activities simply because they are local and it’s good business to be in the business of supporting and promoting community organizations. Others, however, have specific interests in their giving that may make them suitable for some types of requests and more likely to donate. For instance, a company that develops and produces children’s toys may not be a good fit for a stream restoration project request, but might be much more willing to give to a youth education event or program – like Trout in the Classroom. Likewise, a major landscaping company may not be interested in sponsoring a veterans fly tying course, but could be a strong target for a riparian buffer planting proposal.
- Do We Know the Owners / Key Decision Makers
Often, getting a foot in the door is the hardest part, as larger companies are asked for money from local nonprofits every day. One of the best ways to tap into these funding sources is to think of the people behind the business – the men and women who live and work – and maybe even fish – in your community and who would care about your work. When looking at a local company for support, one of the easiest and earliest things to do is simply ask your board and active volunteers if they know the owners, or employees with influence in the company who could open the door for you and be a more interested ear to your proposal.
- What Does this Company Hope to Get from Its Generosity
Giving for giving’s sake is a powerful motivator and many businesses have an altruistic streak built into their corporate culture. Others, however, are most interested in the “halo effect” their financial support will garner them, including publicity, press releases, awareness among your members and more. Be prepared, along with your important project, to be offering the publicity they want – and deserve – and be sure to follow-through on promises made to spread the word that this company is a valued partner.
- Are there Things Beyond Money this Company Could Provide
Dollars are great. Money makes projects possible, but many companies are very interested in a much deeper relationship with local nonprofits. One of the most popular ways for companies to support organizations like TU is to provide volunteers from their employee pool to help with projects. Partnering with a local company on a stream side trash cleanup, where they pay for the gloves, trash bags and pizza and their employees get a half day off work to help pick up trash, build stronger bonds and feel good about the company they work for is often an easy sell to the right business.