small shop superpowers

By: BridgeRaise Senior Consultant Cristina Evans

Corporate partnerships at small nonprofits.

I’ve always had a soft spot for small shops. 

One of the things I loved most in my prior roles with national and federated organizations was working with local and regional colleagues and hearing about their work. I appreciated learning about what they were up to. Advocacy, client services, PR, fundraising… they did it all.

I especially looked forward to the personal stories they would share about the people they supported, the volunteers they engaged and the donor relationships they fostered.  

I’ve always admired the leaders of new and smaller non-profit organizations for their entrepreneurial spirit, energy and perseverance in making things happen.

All this is a big part of why I love the work that we get to do with smaller clients at BridgeRaise. 

This year… this unexpected, tumultuous, enlightening, and sometimes grueling time that has been both heartbreaking and heartwarming, I am particularly inspired by the work that small organizations have accomplished. 

They’ve worked hard to keep art alive, ensure youth receive the mental health support they need, and provide access to nutritious food.  

Many have shifted to virtual events, pivoted to online services and ramped up expertise in fundraising in new ways for adapted programs. Talk about change! 

I’m in awe of the rapid adaptations that small organizations have made in order to keep the pulse of hundreds of programs and services pumping. 

And thank goodness for it.   

Here are a few things I admire most about small shops, and have especially come to appreciate in our work with them this year:

They are passionate about their missions and know first-hand how they are making an impact. Rarely do we have a call with our smaller clients and not have the pleasure of hearing how their services or programs, or the staff teams implementing them, are doing.  Team members at small shops often have overarching roles and are very close to programming (see my blog “How wearing many hats makes you awesome.”) and can speak knowledgeably and passionately about it.  This is so helpful in our work with them creating compelling messaging for corporate donors!

They’re pretty fearless and up for trying new things. Most organizations we’ve worked with have ED’s who aren’t afraid to pick up the phone, send an email to someone new they want to connect with or try a stewardship activity. Usually it’s resources, time and just not quite knowing what to do that has held them back and once we help with some drafts or templates and a bit of coaching, they’re off making things happen!

They are well respected and connected within their communities. The smaller organizations we work with have tremendous awareness and credibility in the communities in which they operate.  Their ED’s and teams are relationship builders extraordinaire, authentically connecting people with their organization. It’s exciting to support them in leveraging these relationships to identify and cultivate new connections for support.

Although it can be a bit tougher for the smaller organizations, it’s far from impossible. Companies large and small want to support organizations that are making a difference, and some are especially focused on doing so in the communities where they are active.  

At BridgeRaise we love helping find ways of connecting nonprofits to companies, and do so with organizations of just about every size.

We are all about supporting clients with the templates and coaching that will make them feel confident with corporate fundraising, so they can raise more money to support those who count on them. We find contacts, draft emails and help script meetings so that our small shop clients can connect with the right people and do what they do so well – bring to life the important work of their organizations and the impact it has for those they serve.  This is their superpower – and we love helping them with it to build corporate partnerships!

Do any of these ideas make you think we can help?  If so drop me a note.  I’d love to hear what you are up to!  


Looking for a little extra help in this area? Make sure to sign up to receive my weekly emails to be the first to hear of new resources, templates, and swipe files. And as a bonus, get discounts for being the first to hear. Click here to sign up!

If you have any questions or need a little extra help reach out to me at [email protected]


Subscribe to our channel and get notified when new videos are posted!