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Five Ways to Retain a Corporate Partner

By Ed Lord, VP of Strategic Services at DonorDrive

With organizations focusing on long-term partnerships as opposed to annual or one-time sponsorships, it’s important that you work to retain those sponsors. It’s a given that your organization will deliver on promises to your corporate partner, but there are simple things you can do to ensure that you continue that partnership for years to come.

  1. Share results. Businesses are results driven and want numbers about the success of your partnership. What they really want to know is how much they’ve helped raise and the tangible impact of their dollars on your mission.
  2. Publicize their efforts. Organizations look to you to tell the world of their good deeds. Talk about about them whenever possible through your newsletter, social channels and any media opportunity you have.
  3. Give recognition. Your events are ideal opportunities to thank your corporate partner in front of many of your supporters at events. Also give awards both in front of their executives and employees, as well as in front of your board. Individual executives and employees who’ve made the partnership a success should be publicized in a press release.
  4. Present them with a photo of their team. When I was with the American Cancer Society, We had one corporate partner vital to our success. They gave sponsorship dollars but more importantly their employees supported the event. To highlight this support, every year we hired a photographer and brought in a crane to take photos of the employee team at the event. We made sure that we included a banner for ACS. Then we presented them with a big copy of the photo that was nicely framed. These graced their lobby with a new one added each year. It helped cement the relationship and made it difficult for them to even think of changing the relationship.
  5. Keep your promises. This is most important, don’t over promise when you’re trying to obtain a corporate partner and do over deliver on what you promise. All these moves are effective, but the most important aspect of building a relationship is trust. Trust is only established by doing what you said you would do.

In addition to helping maintain the relationship, these ideas can also help you grow the relationship for the future. After all, the more you show your appreciation for all a partner does, the more they may show appreciation with bigger programs and more sponsorship dollars in years to come.


Ed comes to DonorDrive from a 25-year career in fundraising for the American Cancer Society that helped generate over one billion dollars for the organization. His last role at ACS was Senior Vice President of Business Development for the South Atlantic Division. He was instrumental in the development of Relay For Life and a pioneer in peer-to-peer fundraising.