During my break at the National Arts festival this year, I was able to attend workshops on securing funding for non profit organisations. Although the workshops were designed for arts based organisations, there are some lessons that we can learn. These tips apply most specifically to MIE, which I think we can get funding for separately as a creative way of facilitating holistic growth and learning for our learners.

The first workshop was Hands On/ Masks Off by Tony Lancaster CEO National Arts Festival. Tony worked for Old Mutual Foundation and has experience in receiving funding proposals while working for the Foundation. 

The first thing Tony said was that the biggest no no is to tell a corporate that you are getting money to make them look good. They probably have a department whose job is to do research and make them look good, therefore your project alone will not reach that objective. Instead look for a way to synchronise their brand with yours, based on shared values.  

He said your brand should have a fixed strategy with a consistent message. Your application should be based on their brand and its consistency – which should amplify their core message. 

Image and integrity

  • Be clear on what you’re about as well as what they’re about
  • NB – corporates employ people who do research for them therefore don’t try to change what they do – don’t try to influence their business strategy, they know what they’re doing.

Begging Bowl Syndrome is a big no no

  • See NB = value of project to the corporate
  • Show them how they will reach their objectives, based on their values
  • Put the value in rands
  • Okay to include your salary in the budget
  • Don’t be apologetic = be proud
  • Do your research, ie read their press releases
  • In your paperwork include problems you’ve encountered and how you solved them – don’t gloss over this
  • Look for creative low cost ways to surprise them

    • Make them believe that you’re taking care of their interests
    • If you can’t keep your promises – warn them ahead of time

  • Read their annual reports

    • Find out financial year of different corporations
    • Speak their language 

Michelle Constant CEO Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) on Looking for Corporate Social Opportunities

According to Michelle, the largest shore of funds comes from marketing as opposed to CSI.

She suggested the following corporates to look into: Thebe Bank, Telkom and FNB  for visual art, Plascon Paints for in kind sponsorship and the MTN Foundation for Education.

In an ideal sponsorship:

  • Both parties benefit equally
  • Strong potential for return on investment
  • Benefit and uplift community
  • Create good brand awareness
  • High positive reputational impact
  • Fit perfectly with brand strategy
  • Contribute to company BEE scorecard
  • Must be able to assess/ measure the no. of people reached
  • Look for long term approach

Why business gives money

  • Create awareness/ exposure/ promote company
  • Build brand/ image reinforcement
  • Social responsibility/ community involvement
  • Showing that they care
  • Experiential/ create loyalty and affinity
  • Create business opportunities
  • Job creation
  • Education
  • Media exposure
  • Employee engagement

Conditions required to ensure success:

Requirements for perfect brand synchronisation

  1. Aligned values and agreed objectives
  2. mutual respect and understanding
  3. commitment from all
  4. targeting CSI or marketing within the corporate
  5. flexibility and willingness to experiment
  6. keeping good communication channels
  7. a partnership that is well executed, exciting and creative
  8. provides ongoing assessment

What Business wants to see from your proposal

  • Spend more time preparing proper budgets and cost analysis
  • Your proposal must include:

o       In for lines – summary budget, what and how whether it’s directed at Marketing or CSI

o       Clearly spell out benefits the sponsor can expect

o       Be clear on all expected contracted media plans – especially TV

o       Address skills development aspects (education NB)

o       Clearly show whether provincial or local government structures will be involved and provide support

o       Do proper research about the company approached as a sponsor to understand how their objectives can be met

o       Do not tick all boxes in terms of what you do

I hope these tips work. In the meantime please send me info on MIE from the different branches. I want to put together a proposal for BASA to match us up with a sponsor for MIE.