The Definitive Guide for Nonprofits Seeking Business Partnerships
Book - Fundraising with Businesses
Shrinking government grants and growing competition for foundation and individual support means nonprofits need to find new funding sources. The good news is local businesses can help, a concept thoroughly and expertly detailed in Fundraising with Businesses.

Joe Waters, a Boston area marketing pro who pioneered and popularized cause marketing (a partnership between a nonprofit and for-profit for mutual gain), has written the definitive guide that nonprofits, especially smaller ones, can use to forge financially beneficial business relationships.

This book, which “aims to help nonprofits to think big about fundraising with businesses,” covers the gamut of possible partnerships ”“ from percentage-of-sale, donation box, and product donation fundraisers to collection drivers, matching gifts, and dollars for doers. Indeed, the subtitle, “40 New (and Improved!) Strategies for Nonprofits,” indicates the book’s comprehensive breadth.

Having worked for nonprofits for two decades, Waters understands how they work and their need to access actionable information quickly. He serves them well by organizing each chapter into three parts: how the strategy works, things to remember, and a “Steal These Ideas” section that spotlights successfully executed tactics employed by others.

He leaves no stone unturned, augmenting his points with step-by-step guidance, such as “Four Ways to Close a Business Partnership” and “What You Need to Know Before You Check-in to a Location-Based Fundraiser.”

To get started, Waters advises nonprofits to analyze their assets, those things that would be of interest to potential business partners, such as a large employee base or existing connections to the company you want to partner with. By definition, nonprofits new to the arena of business partnering usually lack a partner ”“ or believe they do. The reality is nonprofits have many connections with businesses, perhaps because those companies already ally with them by supporting a program or event or leaders within the firms donate to them.

Building one’s brand is one of the most important foundation blocks for a successful fundraising campaign, whether it is involves a business partnership or other endeavors.

“Powerful nonprofit brands are like magnets,” according to Waters, by promising “a fulfilling, information rich experience that will maximize the donor’s impact.” He adds, “I don’t know one nonprofit that’s been wildly successful without one.”

Just as important as what to do when creating a business partnership is remembering what it will not do. It won’t replace individual grants, it won’t “save your nonprofit,” and it won’t last forever, writes Waters.

Fundraising with businesses takes work, but it’s worthwhile and when success is achieved, the results will inspire further similar effort.

Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New (and Improved!) Strategies for Nonprofits is available from Selfish Giving.

Reviewed by Peter Lowy

February 2014