ANONYMOUS QUESTION: Vendors as Sponsors

In every Nonprofit Jenni Show podcast episode, I answer an anonymous question submitted by someone who works for a nonprofit or serves on a nonprofit organization’s board of directors. These questions may cover controversial topics, or may just come from someone who doesn’t want to be publicly associated with asking the question. Please subscribe to my podcast to make sure you catch all the advice I give from my anonymous Q&A segment!

In my recent episode on negative stereotypes that surround certain cause areas, I answered the question, “Can I ask my organization’s vendors to sponsor upcoming fundraiser?”

The short answer? YES!

You should definitely be asking your organization’s vendors and stakeholders to support your mission through monetary and/or in-kind sponsorships. As an organization, you are supporting their business by choosing to use their company as your vendor for your printing, vehicle maintenance, custodial work, or some other service. In return, it would be great for them to support your mission as well.

Remember, they don’t have to support you…but you also don’t have to support them! Unless you live in a very isolated community, you probably have several other vendors you could choose to use if you needed to find a competitor who would be more willing to give back to those in need. On the other hand, if they did choose to financially support your organization, they would feel more confident in your long-term commitment to your relationship with them.

I would even encourage your board members and long-term volunteers to ask their vendors for support! Additionally, have everyone brainstorm about the “vendors” they use in their personal lives, such as doctors, daycare centers, and restaurants.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Who provides your organization (and your board members’ companies) with:

  • Printing and mailing services

  • Secure shredding services

  • Cleaning services

  • Banking services, including loans and credit card processing

  • Office supplies, including big-ticket items like computers and furniture

  • Company vehicles, vehicle maintenance, and wrapping

  • Company “swag,” such as uniforms, promotional products, and branded office supplies

  • Plumbing and HVAC repair

  • IT support and company software

  • Landscaping

  • Security

  • Insurance

  • Accounting and financial services

  • Employee benefits

  • Legal services

  • Event products, such as a rented stage, port-a-potties, and sound equipment

Where do you, your employees, your board members, and your volunteers go for:

  • Daycare or private school

  • “Doggy daycare” and other pet services, such as grooming and veterinary services

  • Maid services

  • Car maintenance, including car washes

  • Banking services, including loans

  • Insurance

  • Eating out, like restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other places that you regularly visit

  • Groceries

  • Primary care doctor, eye doctor, and dentist visits

  • Home renovation, including supply stores or companies you’ve used to do renovations for you

  • Spa days, massages, manicures and pedicures, hair styling

  • Physical therapy (and heck, mental therapy!)

  • Working out, like your gym or specialized fitness studio

  • Clothes, makeup, accessories, athletic wear, clothing alterations

  • Movies, games, books

  • School supplies, toys, tutoring services

Be sure to subscribe to the Nonprofit Jenni Show on your favorite podcast platform for more anonymous Q&A's!