A recent column in the Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighted advice that nonprofit leaders would give to corporate leaders and vice versa.  Here’s a quick summary:

Nonprofit Leaders on What Corporations Can Do Better:

  • If you don’t fund our area of expertise, tell us.  A simple “no” allows us to focus our energies on donors that do support our mission.  The worst thing we can get in our job is not a “no,” it’s a no answer or a stringing along.
  • Consider multiyear funding so we can spend our time on our mission and not reapplying for funds every year.
  • Don’t shy away from funding overhead.  To accomplish our mission, we have to pay staff and keep the lights on.
  • Share your marketing expertise with us.  Many nonprofits can’t afford marketing staff, so any help you can provide is appreciated.
  • Tell us what you’re trying to accomplish with your giving and invite us to help you reach your goals.

Corporate Donors on What Nonprofits Can Do Better:

  • Effectively communicate how your work reinforces the mission/vision of my company.
  • Demonstrate that you’re having an impact with effective metrics.
  • Be flexible.  You may have a plan for the money you’re seeking, but our priorities may have changed.  Work with us to use funding in a way that matches our priorities.
  • Show short term successes and share longer term (3 to 5 year) goals for the organization.
  • Communicate regularly with us.
  • Think creatively about how you can leverage our support for more visibility for your mission and for our corporation.
  • Engage our volunteers first…then ask for financial support.