As organizations ramp up their holiday-season fundraising, this is the perfect time of year to consider how to more fully leverage your sponsors and partners by implementing new ways to build mutually beneficial relationships.
While sponsorships and partnerships drive value year round, the holiday season in particular presents unique opportunities, especially with retail partners, whether online, offline or in-store (point of sale).
Below are some examples of ways your organization can optimize those relationships, during the holidays and year round.
- Add donation forms to your partner sites. Many sponsors and partners are concerned that promoting donating to your organization may drive valuable customers away from their site and/or distract from their sale. Handling donations on your behalf can be a cumbersome and complicated process for a partner and may create accounting headaches for both of you. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Embeddable donation forms, like the Kimbia donation widget, allow donations to be made right on the page a shopper is viewing without navigating away from the product or, alternately, partners can include a post-purchase donation form on their own shopping cart. This is a solution that makes both parties happy. It keeps eyeballs where the partner wants them while still giving you the opportunity to raise more funds and have the donations go directly to your bank account. This can also make any matching funds easier to match and track.
- Cash in on checkout lines. For some organizations, point of sale fundraising is a huge boon during the holidays. Donations of a dollar or two at checkout can result in millions. However, the issue is that you do not capture donor information limiting your chance of turning a donor into a long-term donor. However, having a more involved donation process would be cumbersome for your partner delaying checkout times and negatively impacting customer service. Consider how you might coordinate with your partner to provide a more comprehensive giving opportunity. Could they print a URL for giving on the back of receipts or coupons? Might a pledge-to-give opportunity at the cash register encourage longer-term giving? After someone pledges a QR code or URL could be added to the receipt for the giving amount where donors can then scan and fulfill their pledge.
- Offer donor-centric sponsor matches. Perhaps instead of just offering a direct giving match, this is the year to start a “holidays your way” Peer 2 Peer campaign and offer a match. Instead of exchanging presents with my friends and family, this year I may want to start a fundraising campaign to raise $1000 for my favorite organization. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful incentive (and a great exposure opportunity for your partner or sponsor), if they were willing to match the first $250 raised for the holiday fund?
- Encourage sustained giving opportunities. Creating promotions that offer matches or sponsor incentives is a great way to capture donor’s attention. For example, if I adopt a child this holiday season, your wonderful partner will send the child’s entire family a basket of household items for the New Year. Another example could be, if I provide enough money for a child to go to school for 1 year, your partner will give the school a new set of books. What a great way to incentivize the donor and build social good capital for your partner.
- Connect with offline and online giving catalogs. Whether a portion of the sale goes to you, one of your products is featured or a combination of both, consider how adding donation widgets online, or URLs to a dedicated donation form might work. For example, providing a back-end incentive for a donation (give a gift to organization X today, and get a 10% discount code for catalog Y) can be a great way to benefit both the partner and the organization.
- Socialize Sponsorships. Don’t forget social media. Cross-promoting sponsors and partners is a good way to build trust in the relationship and to drive donors and customers to each other’s sites.
- Thank them early and often. Finally, and very importantly, remember to THANK your partners and sponsors during the holidays. You can do this on your social media, in your holiday newsletter or in a thank you to your donors.