Skip to content Skip to footer
0 items - $0.00 0

Nonprofit Events – Untapped Marketing for Small Biz

Had lunch with a new small business client this week, and it sparked a great conversation regarding how small businesses can and should be using nonprofit events as marketing opportunities.  During my career in nonprofit, I’ve seen some businesses make outstanding connections through this type of marketing, but I’ve also seen many small business who have missed golden opportunities of this untapped resource.  Before I dive in, allow me to debunk a couple of myths for those small business folks out there:

  • Sponsorships & corporate partnerships are not for just large corporations.  Almost all nonprofits (or at least the smart ones) offer partnership packages at all levels of involvement.  You don’t have to be able to cough up several thousand dollars to be involved.
  • Partnerships are not only cash in nature.  Some of the best sponsorships are ones in which a business provides a product or service that the organization would otherwise have to pay for.

As a small business owner, we know your resources may be limited.  However, this doesn’t mean involvement isn’t possible.  Like for-profit events, nonprofit events can provide all of the marketing opportunities you should be looking for:

  • An audience that fits the demographic of your clients
  • Opportunities for product display/distribution
  • Face-to-face networking
  • Inclusion in promotional efforts

Unlike for-profit events, those organized by a nonprofit additionally allow for your business to be connected with a very loyal, hyper-local, community base who value entities that support the same values they support.  (Most times for much less of a cost too.)

Here are just a few of examples of partnerships for small businesses:

  • Outdoor Charity events (walks, bike rides, runs) – Consider investing in a booth at their event, perhaps it’s a walk and you can host a rest stop and hand out samples of your product or specials for your services. This may require some sort of monetary investment, but many times, a partnership can be crafted out of donated products/services & monetary donation. (EX: A local carpet cleaning company may want to host a rest stop along the route & hand out sample bottles of carpet cleaning solution to walkers. Not only do they get their info & product in the hands of potential clients, but they have the opportunity to talk to them about why their process is better than their competitors.)
  • Formal/Corporate Events (galas, balls, golf tournament) – While on-site attendance may be more difficult, it’s not out of the question.  But what might be more feasible is an auction package donation for a product or service your business provides. (EX:  A new floral design firm may want to offer a design package for a personal or corporate event as an auction package. Not only might it get them connected with a potential client, it also helps them build their portfolio of work to show future clients.)
  • Educational Programs (workshops, seminars) – Like outdoor events, many nonprofits offer exhibit opportunities at their in-person educational programs. (EX: A business that installs awnings on homes might get clients from exhibiting at an educational program for individuals who have sensitivity to sun.)

Partnership Tips for Small Businesses:

  • Know what your target demographic(s) is/are (You can’t align yourself with an event that fits unless you know this yourself.  Who are your clients and/or who do you want your clients to be?)
  • Do your homework, don’t just say yes to every charity that calls you, but chose the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.  Make sure to ask the right questions:
    • What’s the demographic makeup of their event? (Are the attendees primarily families?  Men? Income bracket?)
    • How many people are expected? (Make sure there will be enough people in attendance to make it worth your time, energy & resources.)
    • Where are their attendees coming from? (Ask if they can give you a zip code analysis of attendees.)
    • What partnership levels and entitlements  do they offer? (Look for opportunities that offer more than slapping your logo on the back of their event t-shirt. Think about it, how many times has some contacted you and said, I saw your tiny logo on the back of a Diabetes Run T-shirt and thought you might be able to help me.)
    • Ask them about in-kind sponsorships.  (Can you offer a product or service as part or all of your sponsorship donation?  Remember it has to be something the really need though.  While it might be beneficial to you, offering them coupons to put in their goody bags doesn’t really help them at all.)
  • Be on the lookout for events to partner with. (Pick up brochures & flyers on events as you are around town.  Jot down the info of PSAs you hear about in the media. Contact them to prospect & find out more about their events.  Make sure to ask the questions above.)
  • Be creative with your partnerships. If the nonprofit is forward thinking, they will be willing to think outside the box about a partnership, beyond what they have printed on their sponsorship levels. (Maybe you are a new children’s boutique in town and you can be in charge of staffing & providing supplies for the “ABC Boutique Kids Zone.”)
  • Be there in person if at all possible. ( While nonprofits are happy to have quality in-kind/cash donations, no one can tell your business’ story like you.  If you simply make a donation, and don’t attend, you are leaving prime opportunity on the table.  In addition to your donation, have all your staff & staff’s family volunteer at the event.  Brand them from head to toe in your company as ambassadors.  And make sure they know how to engage folks in conversation about your business.)

Partnership Tips for Nonprofits:

  • Stop asking for things & expecting not to have to give something in return. ( Look at your events as viable marketing opportunities for businesses, and offer enticing entitlements for their involvement.)
  • Reach out to small businesses whose clientele fits your event’s demographic. (And tell them that when you approach them.  EX: A local law firm that specializes in construction law should would be very interested to know that your golf tournament is organized by the heavy hitters of the local construction industry.)
  • Know your stats. (How many people to expect? What’s the zip code analysis of last year’s participants?)
  • Be flexible. Don’t just hold out for cash-only sponsors. (An in-kind sponsor should be given the same level of importance as a cash sponsor at the same value level.  EX:  A catering company who provides your event with all the food valued at $2,500 is an equal sponsor level to the cash sponsor who wrote you a $2,500 check.)
  • Don’t say yes to every business that wants to get involved. (If a small business wants to donate something that won’t provide a real value to your efforts, it is okay to say no.  Don’t waste their time or yours.)

In today’s market everyone is looking for that elusive diamond in the rough when it comes to marketing opportunities for their business.  Truth is, it doesn’t exist…at least not on it’s own.  We have to be savvy creators of our own opportunities in order to find the experiences that give us the leverage we desire.  And remember, charities are no longer just valid for handouts. So start connecting now.  Who knows, you might actually find yourself a changed person as a result.


  • Jose
    Posted 07/10/2014 5:31 pm 0Likes

    Hello guys if you can’t earn any money online try – bluehand roulette
    system – it earns me extra money everyday, just google it

  • Kyle
    Posted 12/01/2015 8:56 am 0Likes

    Thanks for your comment, Patrick. It is very odd. I would comprae it to a situation like this: a local financial institution supporting a small, social service nonprofit on a very small scale project. There have been talks to expand that support on a much larger level, but it is still small scale at this point. That financial institution then encourages the other organizations in the community that they support to call a specific contact at the nonprofit (name and contact info provided by financial institution) to ask for sponsorship donations. It creates a very sticky situation the nonprofit is then positioned to say no to organizations it is looking to collaborate with in other ways, and word will get back to the financial institution that the nonprofit is not providing support. Is there a way to call out this sponsor and put it all on the table without damaging the relationship?

  • cheap insurances in Elk Grove CA
    Posted 03/30/2016 12:34 pm 0Likes

    This forum needed shaking up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

    Posted 04/28/2016 7:51 pm 0Likes

    Very inspiring to hear Lynn's brilliant marketing plan. It sounds a bit overwhelming but it is just one phase at a time. Right?Thank you so much for sharing your very successful strategy with us. I will be back!

    • Charla
      Posted 05/14/2016 11:33 pm 0Likes

      , like a family. This is important and it is very good! This guy (Nrgaeioiwn) do did not correct, it is bad and not good and just not nice. Insults should not be. We are all fine fellows, we are a healthy team, do that we love. We bear a useful for people. Looking at us more and more people will go in for sports and become healthier. This is wonderful. No negatives, only the positive! And what he said about Arnold. For Arnold Bodybuilding was meaning of life in his younger years, idée fixe! He often spoke about it! And do not implicate him name in of the negative comments.

    • http://www./
      Posted 07/11/2016 6:48 pm 0Likes

      Carlos Condit is going to welcome this guy to the big time by giving him his 1st L. All the things that I’am hearing about MacDonald are the same things I was being told about that Ricci guy. We all seen what happened to him. A lot of these Canadians are getting extra hype due to the GSP-effect.

      Posted 07/23/2016 7:05 pm 0Likes

      SÅ flott en historie om Krompen:) En legende i Bergen skjønner jeg! Kunne ingenting om ravner jeg,men det gjør jeg nå:) Grattis med 109 deltagere,det er jo helt rått:) HA en fin fredag:) Klem

      • Barbie
        Posted 10/25/2016 8:19 pm 0Likes

        That inis’htgs just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks!

    • kredit privat absichern
      Posted 02/07/2017 11:16 am 0Likes

      Det är helt att bloggar lättare får länkar, en annan kultur. Det är intressant att flest länkar behöver inte betyda en bra blogg, skriver man helt galet så kan det ge många länkar.

    • roblox hack for android
      Posted 02/24/2017 12:55 pm 0Likes

      I’ll try to put this to good use immediately.

    Posted 04/28/2016 8:12 pm 0Likes

    vilto (2 comments) dit : 25 juin 2012 à 13 h 30 minOui je pense que tu as raison et c’est une extension en fait « comma-separated-values ». Répondre

    Posted 04/28/2016 8:21 pm 0Likes

    ? You propose that liberty causes poverty and slavery and you think that the Mencken quote doesn’t apply? Well then, maybe you’re not a propagandist. Perhaps you’re just one of completely deluded faithful – reciting the creed.

    Posted 07/08/2016 9:09 am 0Likes

    Oh so gehts mir zur Zeit auch. Liegt 100% am Wetter. Es wird wirklich Zeit, dass es Frühling wird, mehr die Sonne rauskommt & es wärmer wird 🙂

    • Boss
      Posted 10/25/2016 8:26 pm 0Likes

      BS low – ratinoality high! Really good answer!

    • http://www./
      Posted 11/07/2016 11:19 am 0Likes

      Vorrei sottolineare che l'orologio con carrillon di Cenerentola, oltre ad essere brutto a morte e avere una musichetta spaccatimpani, puzzava di plastica tossica.Aggiungo anche che il cane di cera verde acqua era *perlato*. E Ari ha detto che è carino!La Tombola Sòla si conferma come unico evento annuale a cui vale la pena partecipare. ;D

    • http://www./
      Posted 12/29/2016 10:14 pm 0Likes

      An additional issue is really that video gaming became one of the all-time most significant forms of fun for people spanning various ages. Kids enjoy video games, and adults do, too. Your XBox 360 is one of the favorite video games systems for many who love to have a lot of video games available to them, and who like to relax and play live with other individuals all over the world. Thanks for sharing your notions.

    • http://www./
      Posted 12/30/2016 8:16 am 0Likes

      You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incredible!

    • cheap El Paso, Texas auto insurace
      Posted 06/07/2017 6:19 am 0Likes

      I’ve just read an outstanding article on measuring your success in the music industry.  I believe Vinny Ribas over at Indie Connect Magazine has developed what could very well become a music industry standard template for evaluating an individual artist’s meaning of success.  I can also see this being included or working in conjunction with the Band Partnership Agreement!

    Posted 07/15/2016 4:55 am 0Likes

    I appreciate you taking to time to contribute That’s very helpful.

  • buchankauf online vergleichen
    Posted 10/12/2016 10:40 am 0Likes

    I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  • http://www./
    Posted 10/24/2016 2:27 am 0Likes

    kız ve kadın ayrımı aslında kadının cinsel yaÅŸamınını da gözler önüne sermekte,kadın demekte bu kadar direnen insanlar acaba farkındalar mı bu ayrım yüzünden kadın cinayetleri %140 artıyor,erkeklerimizin sevgisi her gün üç kadını öldürüyor,gericilik arttıkça ‘kız-lar’ çoÄŸaldıkça,3 çocuk doÄŸurmamız beklendikçe,biz eÅŸit olmadıkça her gün bizi daha fazla öldürdüğünüzün farkında mısınız? ölmek istemiyoruz kardeÅŸim,2 cinsli olmak istemiyoruz anlaşıldı mı

  • test
    Posted 05/22/2017 7:05 pm 0Likes

    I’m pretty pleased to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic
    read!! I definitely savored every part of it and I
    have you saved to fav to look at new information in your website.

    Posted 05/31/2017 1:45 pm 0Likes

    Top 8 Email Etiquette Tips For Online College Students

  • Joshua
    Posted 07/31/2017 8:37 pm 0Likes

    Maake usee of the intyerviews in artticle and submit to directories featuring E-zines.

    Basically, there are three a person can find so
    helpful withh ZFM. You have thee other to survive
    and commhnication iss very vital to every business.

  • digital marketing agency
    Posted 03/10/2019 1:13 pm 0Likes

    Hi there to every body, it’s my first visit of this website; this
    weblog contains remarkable and actually fine stuff for

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.