Optimizing Fundraising Through a Corporate Honoree


When fundraising for charities, corporate honorees can have great influence. To guarantee their full engagement (in other words, generosity!), it's important to gently establish expectations and relationship-build. Corporate honorees are busy people, and their time is limited, so you need to be clear with expectations by giving guidelines as to how their participation will be painless (since PBP will be doing the work), and that we will take every step to make this an event that will make them proud and not be a burden to their staff.

Establish yourself as the intermediary between your client and the corporate exec. Your client will appreciate this, because it means that the client won’t have to make the difficult (i.e., money) asks, and the asks to mine their rolodex, etc. In fact one of the most important pieces (and often the most forgotten piece) is getting the right person to lend their letterhead and signature to secure support from their networks – law firms, accountants, consulting firm, etc.

As a leader the corporate honoree should understand what is needed and be committed to supporting the fundraising campaign and to leveraging their networks. As you begin indoctrinating the honoree, please keep in mind support can take many forms, among them a one-time gift or a give- and-get.

As you get ready to ask someone to be the corporate honoree at a charity gala, make sure you are well prepared, you anticipate their questions, and pad your ask with a rundown of all the benefits the honoree will receive, in terms of image, marketing, and goodwill. Keep the corporate honoree posted throughout the fundraising process with the financial results, and let them know how their contacts are performing. Being well-prepared is key to earning their trust. With a financially successful event that makes all involved proud, the non-profit client is likely to make a committed friend who will continue to support the organization in the future.

Always need to be one step ahead for the next event!

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