GB No. 2(21)/96
Many companies produce an annual report and other publications which provide insight into their interests and activities. NGOs should review these publications thoroughly before submitting inquiry letters or proposals to insure that they target the company's interests.
Companies are interested in doing things in the community for different reasons. One critical factor for their deciding to support a project is that it either offers services in a geographical location where the company has facilities, or is an issue (such as education or the environment) in which the company has an interest. Establishing a connection with the company is vital to opening a door that may lead to partnership.
The costs and benefits to a company must be spelled out and the proposal must be targeted to the right person. For example, a proposal appealing to the moral responsibility of the company should be directed to the person in charge of charitable donations or community outreach. On the other hand, a request with commercial appeal should be directed to a marketing manager. When there is a mixture of benefits to the company as well as the community, it is best to emphasize a dominant theme in the proposal and target it to a charitable or commercial budget holder accordingly.
In order to be successful with the for-profit sector, NGOs need to mirror a target company's style of writing and thinking. A well written proposal is a critical advertisement of the management style of the applicant. Send a brief introductory letter outlining your ideas. If you are unsure how to approach the company, then seek a meeting before developing a full proposal.
In addition to material resources, companies can add valuable ideas to a project. A major business is staffed by intelligent and competent people who may have pertinent comments about the objectives and development of the proposal. NGOs should be willing to integrate companies into the initial proposal and subsequently shape the proposal with their corporate partner. This negotiating process can produce a better final project.
Companies can help NGOs in many ways other than through cash donations. Companies have access to managers and personnel who are active in countries and communities worldwide. They also have products, information, and additional resources (transportation, communications, meeting rooms, facilities) which could be of great value to the project. This type of "in-kind" support may be more valuable than traditional cash donations.