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Raise More Money from Your Business Community: A Practical Guide to Tapping into Corporate Charitable Giving by Linda Lysakowski, 2012

“We don’t have a chance to earn corporate support,” Tony complains. “We don’t have a single corporate headquarters in our region.” If you think like Tony, get ready to change your opinion. No matter if your nonprofit serves in a major city, or rural area without a single corporate headquarters for miles, you can raise funds from businesses. Lysakowski’s book, Raise More Money from Your Business Community: A Practical Guide to Tapping into Corporate Charitable Giving, will help you to develop a systematic effort to partner with big and small businesses to raise money to meet your mission and to improve your community.

Practical Help

In part, Lysakowski’s goal with the book is to “teach nonprofits to better understand and learn how to work with their business community.” (xvi) Lysakowski provides motivation: “Businesses are actually more generous than individuals if you look at giving as a percentage of total revenue/income” (p.14), information about some of the types of support possible, “cash, gifts-in-kind and event sponsorship,” and practical suggestions. “If you are a United Way-supported agency, you will usually have the opportunity to make a presentation to local businesses about your agency. Don’t pass up this valuable opportunity to tell you story.” (p. 22)

Lysakowski’s book provides both a summary and dozens of practical ideas on how to start small and, over time, grow your business support. Lysakowski advises, “Invite a small team of volunteers to help you review potential business donors and determine who has the best linkage with these prospective donors.” (p. 43)

One extremely valuable area of Raise More Money from Your Business Community is Lysakowski’s common sense suggestions on meeting and interacting with the business community that are scattered throughout the text. Since getting started is often the most difficult step in fundraising, you will find Lysakowski’s practical, doable advice helpful. She suggests, for example, working with chambers of commerce and identifying potential opportunities including “unglamorous partners” like the millionaire who owns the car wash.

What Raise More Money is Not

One benefit of Lysakowski’s Raise More Money from Your Business Community, approach, which may also be seen as a disadvantage, is its kinship with traditional fundraising from individuals. The methods suggested when used will improve skills that also enhance obtaining donations from individuals. In some cases, they will help you move smoothly to them: “Don’t forget that business leaders are often top prospects for major individual gifts.” (p. 41) Lysakowski’s preference for fundraising from individuals shines through. How is this a disadvantage? If you approach a business with the ultimate goal of creating more individual donors by building a relationship with leaders, you run the risk of missing opportunities that are unique to business and nonprofits working together, like American Express and the Statue of Liberty experience. This classic cause marketing promotion, according to Wikipedia, “advertised that for each purchase made with an American Express Card, American Express would contribute one penny to the renovation of the Statue of Liberty. The campaign generated contributions of $1.7 million to the Statue of Liberty restoration project. What would soon capture the attention of marketing departments of major corporations was that the promotion generated approximately a 28 percent increase in American Express card usage by consumers.” While Lysakowski touches on the growth of return on investment (ROI) as a motivator for business dollars, Raise More Money from Your Business Community does not delve into these unique business-to-nonprofit opportunities which are a large and rapidly growing income segment for nonprofits.

Who Should Read and Use Raise More Money?

This book is excellent for nonprofit organizations that flounder in the business development area and those who believe little is possible, such as Tony, whose community offers no corporate headquarters. If your ultimate goal is cause marketing and sponsorships, like the Statute of Liberty-American Express experience, follow Lysakowski’s suggestions to enhance your journey to these kinds of relationships. By interacting with businesses, you will have the opportunity to see new possibilities to enhance your nonprofit, businesses, and your community.

Table of Contents

Forward

Introduction

Chapter One- Corporate Philanthropy: Does it Actually Exist?

Chapter Two- How Business and Corporations Give

Chapter Three- What’s Happening in the World of Corporate Philanthropy?

Chapter Four- Why Business and Corporations Give

Chapter Five- Getting Started: Identifying Business Prospects

Chapter Six- Getting Started: Cultivation Strategies

Chapter Seven- Making the Ask

Chapter Eight- Assuring the Future of Corporate Philanthropy—the Nonprofit Role

Chapter Nine- Assuring the Future of Corporate Philanthropy—the Corporate Role

Appendices

Index

Reviewed by: Karen Eber Davis

Karen is is on a mission to help non-profit leaders generate the ideas and resources they need to fulfill their goals in creative, effective and, whenever possible, brilliant ways. She is a strategy consultant, team builder and non-profit income and funding specialist. In early 2009, she was awarded The Nonprofit Resource Center’s 2008 Trainer of the Year Award. Her publications for non-profit organizations include the Profitable Nonprofit, Grant-tastic!, More Local Sources, and Local Sources (now in its fifth edition).

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