The Human Argument: Crafting Your End-of-Year Corporate Giving Ask
Are you making the right arguments?
As we edge towards the close of another calendar year, the backdrop of holiday cheer brings with it a heightened sense of generosity and community. If my mailbox and email inbox is any indication, it’s a time when non-profits and charitable organizations roll up their sleeves for one of the most critical fundraising periods: the end-of-year giving season.
For these entities, the final chapters of the year are not just about closing out books but opening doors to renewed support and partnership. This guide aims to navigate you through the creation of an end-of-year corporate (and personal) giving ask that is as impactful as it is imperative.
Understanding Your Audience
Research Your Corporate Partners:
- Imagine approaching a tech giant; here, the narrative could be woven around their contributions bolstering digital literacy initiatives, echoing their innovative spirit.
- When engaging with a local enterprise, underscore the ripple effect of their support on community uplift and neighborhood projects. It also can reflect on the enterprise in a way that makes their local PR efforts more effective.
Tailor Your Message:
- If the corporation is lauded for its green ethos, align your cause with environmental stewardship, illustrating how together, you can nurture a more sustainable future.
The Persuasive Human Argument
Tell Your Story:
- There’s power in personal testimony—the human argument, as I call it. Share the transformative journey of an individual or community that benefited from your programs, thanks to corporate backing. Also, tell the story of prominent current donors, explaining why they put their money where their mouths are. Spotlighting volunteers and detailing their sweat equity donation is also beneficial.
- Detail triumphs, like how last year’s donations were the wind beneath the wings of educational endeavors for hundreds of children in underserved locales. If your organization rescued food, explain not only how many truckloads were redistributed, but also to whom.
Data and Impact:
- Employ data to fortify your narrative. For instance, “Your partnership could amplify our outreach by 30% next year, touching the lives of an additional 150 families.” But remember, use these to bolster your persuasive human arguments. Ultimately people give out of an emotional connection, not just the cold equations.
Creating the Ask
Be Clear and Direct:
- Articulate your needs unambiguously: “We are on a mission to garner $50,000 to initiate a youth mentorship program that promises to chart new horizons.” If you don’t ask for what you need, it’s unlikely you will get it.
Offer Different Ways to Give:
- Suggest a spectrum of giving avenues, such as matching employee contributions or earmarking funds for a particular project. A donor catalog is a fun and engaging way to do this. (See below.)
- Discuss mutual gains like tax advantages, an elevated brand persona, and avenues for employee engagement.
Engagement Beyond the Ask
Involve Them in the Story:
- Extend an invitation for corporate teams to be more than just benefactors—let them be participants through volunteer programs or decision-making processes.
- Put forward a blueprint for an ongoing alliance, complete with regular progress briefings and interaction opportunities.
Closing Your Ask
- Extend heartfelt thanks for their consideration and potential to catalyze change.
Call to Action:
- Encourage prompt dialogue: “Let’s connect by [date] to explore collaborative avenues for a brighter tomorrow.”
An Impactful Example
As a board member of After the Harvest Kansas City, I work to further our mission to rescue fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste, ensuring it nourishes families in need instead of ending up in landfills or decomposing in the fields. Our continuing success stems from a powerful alliance of volunteers, generous growers, and committed financial donors, who together make it possible to provide healthy food to those facing hunger.
To amplify our impact, we've introduced the Sowing Seeds of Change Impact Gift Catalog. This innovative resource empowers our donors with the choice to see exactly how and where their donations are sown into the fabric of our mission, yielding tangible results in the community
This catalog approach encapsulates many of the best practices discussed in this essay.
Remember, your end-of-year corporate giving ask is more than just a seasonal campaign—it's the cornerstone for forging sustainable partnerships. By mirroring your narrative with corporate values and transparently showcasing the tangible impact of their support, you can transform this annual appeal into a bedrock for enduring alliance and growth.
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