A participant on a webinar I presented today asked me an interesting question, and I'm guessing other nonprofit – and corporate – leaders may be wondering about the same thing.
The individual wanted my opinion on how to overcome possible negative perceptions or stigma associated with the cause. (Not the organization itself, but the issue that this and hundreds of other organizations worldwide address.) Diverse audiences attend events held across the US and Canada to help raise a lot of money for a cause that affects a lot of lives.
Here's what I told this person:
- Destigmatize. As the sponsorship seller of the event or property (or even internally at the corporation), it's your job to educate your corporate partners. (In doing so, you also fulfill your mission.) Help corporate leaders understand the truth, the pervasiveness of the issue, and why fear (which is what a stigma is rooted in) is unnecessary and unhelpful.
- Audiences. Provide good data on who the audiences are, why they care about this cause, and how, by participating in this event, the corporation will actually reach a broader audience. That the corporation will be aligned with addressing or fighting this cause may be a positive to this particular audience.
- Stop beating your head against the wall. Don't expect every corporation to get it. This may not be a fit for them or for you. That's OK. Move on to a prospect better matched for your organization and event.
Have you dealt with this issue? What other suggestions have you found to be effective?