Revised with new information as of December 20, 2014

The Pitfalls of Having a Program Sponsor
(and suggestions for Mission-Based Organizations on how to avoid them)
For-profit companies, particularly large corporations, often sponsor specific programs or events at mission-based organizations (non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations/NGOs, civil society, school, etc.), providing funding, donated staff time, and in-kind equipment and services to help launch and maintain a project, program or event.

In most ways, this is a blessing for the mission-based organization, which gets resources it needs to launch and maintain a program that helps it fulfill its mission, and builds awareness among others about what the organization does.

But there are often hidden costs for the nonprofit or NGO, and one of the biggest is the interference of for-profit/corporate culture in the operations of the mission-based organization. What the for-profit company wants out of the program or event may not be what the mission-based organization feels is appropriate, or may conflict with what the mission-based organization feels is best for those it serves.

Some ways that for-profit, corporate culture of sponsors can interfere with a mission-based program or event:

How to avoid these pitfalls? There are a number of ways:

For For-Profit Corporations

For Mission-Based Organizations

Also see Pro Bono / In-Kind / Donated Services for Mission-Based Organizations:
When, Why & How?
. There are all sorts of professionals who want to donate their services -- web design, graphic design, human resources expertise, legal advice, editing, research, and so forth -- to mission-based organizations. And there are all sorts of nonprofits and NGOs who would like to attract such donated services. But often, there's a disconnect -- misunderstandings and miscommunications and unrealistic expectations that lead to missed opportunities and frustrating experiences. This resource is designed to help both those who want to donate professional services and those who want to work with such volunteers.


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