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Book Review: Fundraising with Businesses by Joe Waters

9 January 2014


 January 9, 2014
Category: Book, Cause Marketing

joe-waters-fundraising-with-businesses My friend Joe Waters just came out with a new book, called Fundraising with businesses. What’s it about?

Well, if you thought that sponsorship was all a business could do for you, BOY are you in for a surprise!

This book talks about ALL of the different ways that businesses can help your nonprofit succeed, far beyond sponsorship.

BTW I don’t get any commission for promoting this book. It’s just got lots of good ideas, things I have never tried, because I had never known to ask for them.

What things you ask?

Well, how about dollars for doers? okay, you knew about that one.

What about Percentage of Sales fundraiser?

  • Donation box fundraiser?
  • Hashtag fundraiser?
  • Text to give fundraiser?
  • New hire fundraiser?
  • Cause product fundraiser?
  • Company giveaway fundraiser?
  • Shop-Walk fundraiser?
  • Payroll deduction?
  • Scan to give fundraiser?
  • Dress-up/Dress-down fundraiser?
  • Halopreneurs?

Are all of these terms like so much gobbledy gook for you? Yeah, for me too, some of these I think, okay, i get this, but how do I apply it? What’s the first step? That’s what Joe’s book is about. And it’s all in this book, with concrete examples of each kind of fundraising.

What are some top tips from Joe to help you approach businesses to support you in a variety of ways?

Stress your local roots. When a business is located near you, people who shop there like to see that they support local charities, not somewhere far away. For instance, when I was recently helping Lucy’s Love Bus, a charity in Massachusetts, think about how to approach a radio station in New Hampshire, for some free publicity, we stressed that Lucy’s Love Bus helps people in the areas where people could listen to this station, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. Even though they help people in other places, we wanted to make sure that the radio station knew that their listeners would care that Lucy’s Love Bus helps people in their backyard.

Be as transparent as possible. That means it’s important to show businesses that you’re using their money wisely.

Give it all away. This was a new one for me. Make it easy for a business to partner with you. If you were doing pinups at a local coffeeshop, YOU print the pinups. Don’t make the business do it. They’ll remember how easy it was to partner with you, and they might want to partner again in the future!

Target businesses that already support charities. This is a no-brainer, but so important. If you look at which businesses are already out there showing they care, then it makes sense to go after them. Don’t go after a business that has never shown any interest in advertising or supporting good causes.

If you want this book, we’re doing a book giveaway right now.

Leave a comment (with your email) and tell me why you deserve this book.

Best comment gets the book, straight from Joe himself!

I’ll email the winner in one week’s time. Go!

30 responses on “Book Review: Fundraising with Businesses by Joe Waters

  1. Michele says:

    This book looks great! Are you still doing the free giveaways?

    • Mazarine Mazarine says:

      hi Michele, no, this book has been given, but if you’d like to win a free workbook from Pam Slim, just leave a comment on her interview post!

  2. Judi D says:

    Mazarine strikes again! Thanks for the heads up on this book. As with all of your recommendations, a peek at the “Look Inside” feature and I gleaned a piece of info that got us $1000 from an area business yesterday. The manager was even good enough to turn me on to a way where we could double that by submitting an additional request to the corporate HQ AND… funding several more times this year. Off to Amazon to buy the book.

  3. nalani says:

    I am helping a 5-year old community organization to build its capacity. This book provides a perspective critical to community organizations: soliciting and working with businesses to support its communities. I think that I deserve the book because it’s not about just me. I would be sharing the lessons and training others. Each one, teach one.


  4. Marcia says:

    Looks like a great book full of creative ideas! We are a county-wide human services agency, and we work closely with local businesses and government. Our local community is aware that we do good work, and generally feel that we’re worthy of their help. We just need better ideas in order to customize the litany of different ways that they are able to help us. We have to be able to easily and painlessly communicate all of the pertinent options in order to form the best partnerships. Right now a business might see the way that another business is assisting us, and think that if they can’t do that, then they can’t help. We need this book so that we can identify new and creative opportunities to partner!

  5. Jon Sahn says:

    Working with medium sized businesses to become more charitable and using charitable giving programs as their marketing and branding is the new way to work with business. Consumers want to see community involvement from the companies they work with. We have all seen the Dawn commercial cleaning the ducks of oil. Corporate Social Responsibility is in. Take advantage of it. I would love to read this book to help educate others on what Joe is writing about.

  6. Mindi says:

    Tried posting this before, but it’s never posted apparently so trying again:

    I could tell you that I’m fairly new to diversifying funding away from grants, and would like this book to learn more about doing that for my agency, but that would probably be fairly pointless, as it’s similar to what many have already said, with more plaintive cases.

    So instead I’ll just wave my hand and say, “This is the comment you’re looking for.”

    The force may not be real and even if it were I am not a Jedi, but hopefully at least the attempt gave us both a smile.

    Have a good day, and MT(NR)FBWY.

  7. Tanya Marx says:

    This books sounds very helpful based on the information above. I am one who has only approached businesses for sponsorship until recently creating targeted asks for specific needs to benefit those our nonprofit serves. This book will provide guidance on understanding and further exploring this concept.

  8. Susanne says:

    I am very excited about this book as we just made Major Gifts one of our top priorities for 2014. As a small organization we don’t know where to start and this book looks like it can point us in the right direction.

  9. arline says:

    I am looking forward to sharing this book with several of the non -profit groups in my area. Many of us work together and I am buildng a network for non-profits to share ideas. I would love to spread the word about this book. It is time for non-profits to start partnering with each other. Looking forward to reading Fundraising with Businesses!

  10. Glynis C says:

    It’s all about relationships – like what can we do for each other. Any ideas to help that conversation along are crucial for all organizations trying to fundraise – even here in Canada! One of the arts groups I deal with has both local and national connections since it tours, and needs to be able to connect with businesses on a local, national and soon international level. We are in the midst of these discussions now – timing is everything…

  11. Lou Ann F. says:

    I am looking forward to absorbing this book, not only to see how businesses can help my non-profit, but how I can get a deeper understanding of how we can work together to bring change into our community by making our organization a stronger part of it.
    Every new thing I can learn and share will serve to protect our school and youth programs against finding ourselves unable to be the difference in the lives the under-served youth due to lack of finances and connections. How to be an even better partner to our business supporters hopefully awaits me in the pages of Joe’s book. If I’m fortunate and receive this book, I pledge to take the knowledge Mr. Waters imparts and share it with others so that we can see – and be – a ripple effect in efforts and results for our kids. Thanks, and good luck to everyone.

  12. Laurie says:

    I run a non profit tool library and we are always looking for new and innovative ways to procure donations. We would love to get a copy of the book to use and expand our business. We are currently in an expansion phase and must get matching donations in excess of 50,000 THIS year! WHEW.. its daunting but I know we can do it!

  13. Judi says:

    I definitely DON’T deserve, Fundraising with Businesses by Joe Waters, but the schools and students I serve surely do!

    With so much to contend with in a short amount of time for each of my four schools, these good folks could be profoundly impacted by the enhanced skills of their fearless Advancement person. That’s me.

    We are poised and excited to go further out into our communities, rich with possibilities, and do what no other schools are doing…leaving no stone unturned due to lack of knowledge or nerve. Joe’s book is going to turn me into the (fundraising) Beast of the East if you send it my way. Thanks, Mazarine and Joe for this opportunity.

  14. kristen says:

    We have more then 200 businesses surrounding our small non profit which is always struggling to stay financially stable. We work on a very minimal shoe string budget with only 2 staff serving more then 300 youth monthly. Any ideas to increase our capacity would be AMAZING! I know that some of these local businesses could be a great resource but figuring out how to make it win win for both of us would be great!

  15. We are a small nonprofit group at an animal shelter in a very small (under 5000) community and could use some great ideas to raise more funds . Thank you for sharing with groups like us to allow us resources we might not otherwise know about.

  16. Casey says:

    This is a topic that we are struggling with at our nonprofit. I’ve sat in on webinars for different ideas and read articles on how to boost relationships with businesses, but nothing has really “done the trick.” We NEED this super awesome book and all the incredible information from Joe in order to ramp up our fundraising and truly make 2014 our best year yet for support from businesses! My fingers and toes are crossed…. 🙂

  17. Susan says:

    This is an intriguing topic for discussion, thank you for the opportunity to win this book!

  18. Joe Grady says:

    I like the comment “Give it Away” – though it’s something I always attempt to do, I do not appreciate those that come into a business establishment and just “drop” off things and expect me or staff to put up information for the their event. The least they could do is offer, even if I would prefer or want to put it up. The offer to me is as good as thank you!

    I would like this book because I am in business and a community volunteer and I use my free time to call on other businesses to help various community organizations raise money and put on fundraising events. I like to think outside the box and I believe this box demonstrates that. As a volunteer I would use this valuable information to help raise more money, more gifts, and more awareness and participation by others to the groups I volunteer.

  19. I have a marketing intern from our local university starting in a couple of weeks, and one of her projects will be to enhance our social media outreach, and make connections with the local business community. I’m sure the great ideas in this book will help her hit the ground running!

  20. marjorie fine says:

    I work with social justice groups and along with these excellent tips we found it is good to stress how our constituencies frequent the business and appeal to the owner’s self interests and concerns about the community. I look forward to reading the book to learn more about working with business all along the chain-Mom and Pops and corporations!

  21. Kim Polzin says:

    I’m a corporate connector — helping nonprofits connect with businesses for mutual benefit. I’d love to read Joe Waters’ suggestions for my clients!

  22. Laura says:

    We are looking to increase awareness and partner with businesses. This book will lead us in the right direction.

  23. April says:

    I won’t say that I “deserve” this book, but I’d really, really like to have it. I’m always on the lookout for ideas to help the nonprofits I work with succeed. Thank your for bringing this resource to my attention (and my bookshelf?).

  24. Pam Parmer says:

    Our animal rescue group gets a small but steady income from donation boxes placed at animal-oriented businesses (veterinarians, feed stores, etc.) but I would love to find ways to boost those local connections and sponsorships.

  25. Boy, do I need this book. I was just at a meeting the other night where a committee was formed to “draft a letter to company presidents in the state, and then send it out with a copy of our annual report, because they’re just waiting to be asked to give….”

  26. Sounds like a great book with lots of ideas! And we need ideas… the Ladies (mares) of Our Mims Retirement Haven exist through the “kindness of strangers.” But, as the Director of Fundraising & Promotion, I need to figure out how to get those strangers (and dollars) to the Haven.

    Gather all the ideas all the time!

    Thanks, Mazarine, for bringing such good ideas to light.

  27. Raquel Braemer says:

    Always such great tips from Joe Waters!

  28. The Palestinian nonprofit I volunteer with is making it easy for local businesses to give — by offering to let them send all their grantseekers to Dalia Association (, so they don’t have to evaluate all the requests that come to them directly. They can outsource their whole philanthropy program to Dalia.