When non profit organizations seek to find businesses to provide donations the first ones discussed are often large corporations. It’s true that retailers like Target and corporations like Microsoft have community grant programs.

But don’t over look the local small business owners right in your area. These entrepreneurs often enjoy the opportunity to give back to thier local community. These are also the businesses that benefit most from the advertising and promotion possibilities that a partnership with a non profit can provide.

Cathy Bentley’s coffee shop in Capitola, CA has partnered with a local school to provide them a fundraising opportunity and help her shop boost sales at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

To Cathy Bentley, coffee is more than a drink she serves; it’s a way for her to give back to the community that has supported her Capitola Village shop.

Bentley, owner of Capitola Coffee Roasters, has an unusual way of helping local students raise money for programs and activities.

Her coffee fundraising program lets students pocket 50 percent of the price of each bag of coffee they sell.

Her program is similar to selling candy. But instead of chocolates, students pre-sell 12-ounce bags of her three specialty coffee blends for $12 each. “My philosophy is I want to support my community,” she said from her shop, where she roasts her coffee. “This is the way I can do it.”

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel – Capitola coffee shop perks up school fundraising

So how can non profits connect with business owners who would be willing to set up a fundraiser? Just one way — ASK. 🙂

Retail stores and restaurants often have an incentive to set up a non profit partnership. They always like to see new customers coming through the door. They are usually the best ones to contact for auction or raffle items.

There is one catch though. Whatever you offer to the company has to be of real value to them. Business owners, even locally owned businesses receive many requests for donations. Make your offer stand out by showing how it will be a true partnership. Fundraisers that are designed to send customers their way, like the coffee shop fundraiser, often offer the most benefit to the business. Approach the business with a general idea and then be open their ideas and what will work best for them.

Finally, the best local businesses owners to approach are those that have a connection to you, someone in your organization or to the cause itself. People who know, like and trust you are more likely to be open to helping.

Posted on 15 March 2006

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