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Sales Tips to Get You Going

Posted by: Michele Egan Sterne on 1/4/2011
It’s that time of year when many of us look back and reflect over the past twelve months and resolve to do a few things better in the coming year.  Often times we set far-reaching goals such as exercise more and eat less, stay in touch with family and friends and work smarter.   While I can’t help you with the first two goals, this post outlines four practical tips you can use to sharpen your sales and relationship-building skills!  


1. Fish Where the Fish Are
Being actively involved in industry organizations is a great way to become (or stay) connected.  Commit to participating in at least two professional organizations – not just your industry affiliation – it’s wise to choose one where your prospects will be represented.  As director of development for a cultural institution in Atlanta, my team was responsible for raising several million dollars annually in unrestricted revenue. I always attended events, receptions, openings and business meetings where the corporate marketing folks were – rarely (if ever) did I spend valuable networking time solely with other fundraisers!  

An added benefit of being active in industry associations is that many times your best prospects are subject matter experts who regularly speak at industry functions, panel discussions, conferences, etc.   Buy a ticket, wait in line afterward to say hello and congratulate them.   At this point, don’t push, just introduce yourself and begin to build a relationship.  Another option is to become an expert yourself – if you choose wisely, you’ll likely find yourself on the same panel with some of your best prospects.

  • With events and news from 41 different markets, a good place to start is The Business Journal
  • Another organization that offers national and local professional development and networking opportunities is the American Marketing Association.
  • Targeted to our specific industry, the Cause Marketing Forum hosts an annual conference with a number of valuable networking opportunities.

2. Get Your Foot in the Door
One advantage to strategic, integrated cause marketing partnerships is that several corporate departments must be involved for true success.  This opens up multiple opportunities for you to get your foot in the door and begin developing relationships with marketing, public relations, community affairs or human resources staff.  You may find the corporate foundation culture more welcoming and receptive and a good place to start.  You should also network with decision-makers at the national, regional, local levels or those individuals specifically charged with operational or franchise responsibilities. 

3. Mission Match or Mission Impossible?
The right cause and the right corporation are essential ingredients for successful partnership growth.  Be open to understanding the needs from both sides of the table and, rather than view opportunities one-dimensionally, look for the win-win. This can be a challenge so you may want to seek professional support from an agency like ours which has extensive hands-on experience with both corporations and non-profit organizations.

4. One Last Double Check
Today we have access to an incredible amount of information.  Always take an extra couple minutes before a meeting to scan the corporation’s website for relevant or sometimes, even, breaking news.   Be sure to check out the news release section – if they’ve written a release, you can bet it’s important to management.  You can learn about new product launches, personnel changes, and financial news, giving you a peek at some of their latest organizational priorities.  Oh, and don’t forget to Google the person you are meeting with, you’re bound to learn something that could lead to a bonding moment.  Honestly, there is absolutely no reason to not be over-prepared!

I hope these tips help get your cause marketing sales going and if you would like to share an idea that has helped you work smarter, we’d love to hear from you.

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Cause Talk Radio Podcast


Episode 126: What Companies Want from a Nonprofit Partner
Recorded July 2015

Sharing insights from For Momentum's 2015 Corporate Partner Survey, Mollye Rhea talks to Megan Strand and Joe Waters about what companies really want from their nonprofit partners. 

In this episode of Cause Talk Radio, Mollye, Megan and Joe discuss:
  • How the most common question clients asked For Momentum became the basis for the survey.
  • What hunches did the survey legitimize? What answers surprised For Momentum?
  • How companies are shifting their interest in nonprofits from a sales focus to a genuine interest in social impact. 
  • How companies are looking for good nonprofit partners and are eager to work with more than one partner.
  • How brand alignment, awareness are driving factors for partnerships.
  • How the tremendous growth in the social good movement has given nonprofits an unprecedented and powerful opportunity with businesses.
  • Mollye's thoughts on what nonprofits need to do to engage companies.
  • The biggest mistakes nonprofits make when they call on a company.
Listen to Mollye Rhea on Cause Talk Radio Episode 126: What Companies Want from a Nonprofit Partner.

FREE Resources

For Momentum's Giving Tuesday E-book: Corporate Partners, Activate!


Statistics and trends from this growing global movement and ideas to supercharge your Giving Tuesday campaign with a cause partnership.

For Momentum: Cause Marketing Statistics
For Momentum Cause Marketing Statistics

A categorized compilation of industry statistics showcasing demand and relevance of cause marketing


A handy glossary of 200+ cause marketing terms
to help demystify industry jargon and inform

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