Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12

JOE HOMS Featured Contributor

Triangle of Value

How would you like it if corporate sponsors routinely asked to give you money? What if they gave you loads of it at a time? What if you got to keep a sizable chunk for your mission and also got a bunch of valuable gifts for your other donors (increasing donations) and the people you serve (increasing good)? Does this sound too good to be true? Every week, I teach entrepreneurs, for- purpose organizations, and corporate donors how to partner together to get something everyone wants. We even show everyone how to turn up the volume on the whole thing. We like to tell people that it’s not who you know, it’s how you know them, and we share a way to create a public-private partnership that will blow the socks off of other methods you may have tried before. Most nonprofits find they have more than enough donations coming in, happy donors and corporate sponsors, and a community well-served by their mission. It all starts with a triangle of value. What you may not know is that your problems are someone else’s solutions. Imagine that you’re a for-purpose organization at one corner of an equal- sided triangle. You need money to further your mission, or you’d like new and valuable gifts or resources to give to those you serve or to those donors who could use a little something back for their support (which increases donation activity). You know that when you do this, everyone wins, but it’s just so darned expensive or time- consuming doing it the traditional way by

that the other two sides have. This is great news! Everyone can solve everyone else’s problems straight away, and all it takes is a few phone calls or emails to get things rolling. Remember, your problems are other people’s solutions. As a nonprofit, you can usually command a discount from an entrepreneur who has something you want. You also may have a relationship with a corporate sponsor who wants that product or service. If you don’t, they will want to know you since you can help them with that discount and a tax write-off, which we will get to in a second. The entrepreneur would love to do these kinds of deals and get into a longer- term relationship with both you and the corporate sponsor. They have all of this great stuff to teach, provide, or otherwise deliver to people, and they are hungry to help serve the world. Here’s how this works in a real world example. A nonprofit business will call me up (or I’ll call them) and say that their corporate sponsor, a large company called ACME Widgets wants to buy my sales training for their team, but they want the Double Dip Discount of getting something for a discounted price and also as a tax write-off. Of course, I’m happy to provide this to my newfound friends. We invoice you, the nonprofit; the corporate sponsor pays you what I’m owed; that cash then flows to me with a generous broker’s fee being kept by you and/or I give you free access to some information for people served or for your donors to access.

buying expensive gifts, hosting galas or fundraiser events, doing silent auctions, and other well-worn ideas. While you’re at one corner of this triangle, there are two other players at the other corners. The first is the corporate sponsor you either have or would like to have.They have some money, but their problem is that they’d like something done with it. Maybe they have some training needs in their company. Maybe they want to do some marketing in a new channel. Either way, all else being equal, they’d like their money to work for them, beyond feeling good about giving to charity and having a nice tax write-off. At the third corner of this triangle is an untapped resource: a business with some information, a service, or a product that you, the people you serve, your donors, or the corporate sponsor would love to have. It would be world-changing stuff, if only they could get it into the hands of more people than they could reach on their own. They’d be happy to sell at a discount, since it’s usually a digital product or service. They’d love to get the attention of a bigger corporate sponsor. They’d love to reach your donors and the people you serve, too. So our triangle is set and everyone needs something. Everyone needs something

12 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine

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