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An Introduction to Seeking Corporate Support

Corporate support comes in many forms, but it often stems from a common impulse: self-interest.

“Self-interest isn’t a bad thing,” says Itai Dinour, the former chief organizational advancement and alumni officer at City Year, a national-service charity in Boston focused on education.

It is, however, a foreign thing to many in the nonprofit world. The impulses that motivate donors and foundations—altruism, religious obligation, maximizing impact—are often secondary or tertiary concerns for corporate givers.

“Corporate giving is a business transaction,” says Kevin Martinez, vice president of corporate outreach at ESPN. “It’s not benevolent by nature. It’s a strategic investment.”

That doesn’t mean corporations care nothing about the world or that good intentions don’t motivate their giving. It does mean that when choosing between two causes, corporations with a strategic approach to giving tend to choose the one that most benefits their bottom line.

“You’ve got to bring something to the party,” says David Hessekiel, president of the Cause Marketing Forum.

The good news is that nonprofits can help for-profits in myriad ways. Charities can provide employee volunteer opportunities, help companies reach a desired demographic, improve a company’s brand, and even help them move product.

Below are links to content from The Chronicle that will help you increase corporate support for your organization’s mission.