C is for Corporate Funding.

Today at HSP I have been researching possible corporate sponsors for a project based on family history. Before I left the building, I wanted to jot down a short reflection on searching for a corporate sponsor. So that is what I am doing.

Firstly, it is simply not easy to find a clear cut winner corporate sponsor. The language on company charitable giving pages often share large realms of philanthropic interests and letter of inquiry forms or dates for submission, but they rarely offer specifics on what types of projects or [things/events] best fit the true aims of the company. Other companies do not list any information on charitable giving at all, but common sense infers that these companies do give money somewhere.

Secondly, for this project, and I imagine for many organizations and projects anywhere, locality seems to play well. Companies invest in their surrounding communities for two reasons I imagine– (1)the founders of the company are local and have local interests and (2)many companies are most prominent in the regions where they were founded so investing locally returns in advertising (this is obviously not always the case with large companies like Apple who have worldwide appeal). I think for historic organizations local preference plays well for gathering funding because, as long as the historic organization is somehow dealing with local history, there can be nice ties between longstanding local companies and the organization itself– like the oldest soft pretzel company in America sponsoring an event for a historical society.

Thirdly, when I looked at the connections between other local nonprofits and company giving, I noticed a “board factor.” The company affiliations of board members often are funders of the larger organization, though I am not sure if one is always the precursor to the other. In other words, sometimes companies place employees on local nonprofit boards as outreach efforts– not every board member with a company affiliation is on the board thinking that he or she can turn to his or her parent company for funds. Still, there is a trend in board member company affiliation and funding.

These are just a few things I have noticed… that I suppose are worth remembering as I think about future funding History Truck or other projects I lead for nonprofit entities. I will get a nice trial run at writing a corporate sponsorship/grant proposal this week, and I wonder how it will turn out…

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