Ep 7: Corporate Sponsorships Ain’t What They Used to Be – With Guest Nancy Mahon of Estee Lauder [PODCAST]

by Joan Garry

Once upon a time a nonprofit would ask corporate partners to sponsor a table at your annual gala… Well, things have gotten a bit more complex.


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Once upon a time your nonprofit would ask corporate partners to sponsor a table at your annual gala. But corporate sponsorships have changed. Is “sponsor” even the right word anymore?

In the new age of social media and cause marketing, there are far more avenues to partnership with companies than in the old days. In this episode, I learn all about these creative new partnerships in my conversation with Nancy Mahon.

Nancy Mahon has carved out a unique career path for herself. Along the way she has been the Executive Director of God’s Love We Deliver and the MAC AIDS Fund. She is currently the Senior Vice President for Global Philanthropy and Global Citizenship for the Estee Lauder Companies. Nancy knows A LOT about corporate giving.

Nancy and I discuss how to help companies become active and engaged corporate citizens. We talk about the differences in the philanthropic goals of family-owned companies vs. public companies and the challenges faced by nonprofits in finding the “sweet spot” where their mission intersects with a company’s philosophy and client base. Nancy tells an inspiring story about the origin of the MAC AIDS Fund and how it influenced the cause-based marketing to follow.

This episode is chock full of useful information so get out your pad and pencil for this one, you’ll want to take notes.


  • How nonprofits can make the most out of a corporate relationship.
  • The real reasons companies want to partner with nonprofits (it may not be what you think).
  • What corporate sponsorships bring to the table – it’s not just money.
  • I’ll give you one guess what industry takes on the toughest causes. You might be surprised by this one.
  • How to find the best match for your nonprofit (someone should start a dating service for nonprofits and corporations.)
  • The myth of the Greek Chorus of donors.
  • Corporate partners need to EXPERIENCE your organization. Really experience it.
  • Ways to get corporate volunteers into your organization.
  • How to approach potential local sponsors or even local branches of national corporations (think Starbucks).
  • Vote with your dollars: consumer activism
  • Oh, how kind! Don’t overlook your ability to solicit in-kind gifts.
  • I’ll show you my brand if you show me yours. How well does your brand mesh with a corporate sponsor’s brand?