Challenge: Lutheran Settlement House, a social services agency established in Philadelphia in 1902, relied primarily on revenue from grants and government contracts. When foundation or governmental funding priorities changed or contracts expired, the organization's ability to deliver important services faced an uncertain future. Executive Director Beatriz Vieira knew that in order to even out this erratic pattern, plus build reserves to meet strategic goals in the long-term, diversifying the organization's revenue streams must be a top priority.
Opportunity: In 2004 Lutheran Settlement House engaged Gail Bower to build organizational capacity to develop a corporate sponsorship program, allowing corporations to partner with Lutheran Settlement House's programs and events. The unrestricted earned income of sponsorship along with the marketing boast that would result from these partnerships became two important benefits to the organization.
Results: Ms. Vieira selected a team from her management staff to work together to build the program. During the corporate sponsorship training, the staff learned:
By the end of our engagement, staff members were in discussions with corporations and landed deals totaling five figures within five months. A year after we'd integrated the new skills and strategy, Lutheran Settlement House had quadrupled revenue from the corporate sector.
The most important skills Lutheran Settlement House acquired:
"How to shift a needs-based pitch to an asset-based presentation, and how to coordinate corporate sponsorship with development efforts. It is a tension that we will work through as an organization."
Beatriz Vieira, Executive Director, Lutheran Settlement House
"How to put together a marketing proposal. The importance of not underselling our ‘products.' It's built capacity by training several staff to raise money in different ways."
Glenna Harkins, Development Assistant, Lutheran Settlement House
"The steps, A to Z, to finalizing corporate sponsorship and expanding my mind on marketing opportunities. I feel more secure in my ability to do this."
Susan Parris, Chief Financial Officer, Lutheran Settlement House
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