Getting to Know Business Leaders

Two people talking

Now that you have reviewed what a CEO’s day looks like and considered what motivates business leaders to engage in philanthropy, you need to find out more about the business leaders in your community and plan a successful approach.

The following steps will guide you through the necessary research you can conduct to prepare your best approach for soliciting businesses to support your program:

1. Identify business leaders to approach in your area.

  • Begin with the CEOs, business leadership, and others with whom you already have an established relationship through board members, vendors, sponsors, volunteers, etc.

  • Identify prospective small businesses and mid-sized corporations to approach.

  • Include any large national or international corporations that do business in your area.


2. Research each company and identify the following points:

  • Corporate mission

  • Brand identity in the community

  • Target customers

  • Community “good will” reading

  • Business objectives

  • Employee base


3. Focus your research by gathering information about the business leadership and staff.

  • Who has the company given to in the past?

  • What boards, community initiatives, and other activities do the CEO, business owner, or gifts manager participates in?

  • Who makes decisions about fund or in-kind giving?

Notepad and pencilYOUR TURN: Cultivate a Connection

Think of a contact or local business leader who is a prospective supporter. Complete the Cultivating a Connection worksheet to begin your business research.