Corporate philanthropy is one of the most important sources of fundraising for nonprofits. Companies can launch your development efforts forward in many ways, between donating and encouraging employees to be fundraising ambassadors for peer-to-peer campaigns. Whether you're hosting an event or a virtual fundraiser, corporate giving can provide you with additional funding and expand your reach.
However, many overlook this resource. Organizations can miss out on revenue if they’re unsure how to cultivate relationships with businesses. To help you tap into potential opportunities, this article will explore:
- What is corporate giving?
- Why businesses engage in corporate giving
- 3 corporate giving opportunities
- Tips for leveraging corporate giving
- How to promote corporate giving to your network
What is corporate giving?
Corporate giving refers to mutually-beneficial partnerships between nonprofit organizations and corporations. By developing a corporate giving program, businesses can boost fundraising for causes that resonate with them while simultaneously improving their company’s reputation. For example, corporate giving can look like:
- Monetary donations and grants
- In-kind donations of goods and services
- Team volunteerism
- Event sponsorships
- Structured corporate sponsor relationships
Your team can leverage these forms of corporate giving to increase funds, promote your cause, and rally more support behind your work. While the benefits for nonprofits are apparent, you might wonder how businesses benefit from these relationships.
Why businesses engage in corporate giving
From local businesses to big corporations like Google, for-profits know that social responsibility plays a big part in their success. When communicating with companies, your nonprofit should be able to communicate these benefits, enabling you to secure more partnerships.
It reflects well on the company
Consumers and employees alike look to corporate involvement in bettering their community. Engaging in corporate social responsibility practices reflects well on a company’s commitment to:
- Maintaining beneficial partnerships
- Ethical practices
When a business actively promotes volunteerism and supports worthy causes, it’ll reflect well on its reputation to its employees and consumers.
It provides a marketing boost for both parties
Corporate-nonprofit partnerships often lead to publicity for both the organization and company. For instance, if a company sponsors a fundraising event like a 5K, the organization typically attaches its name and logo to its nonprofit marketing materials. Then, the company will promote the opportunity to employees (and possibly customers), resulting in more participation and increased support for the cause.
Employees benefit from participation
Many companies engage in corporate giving to foster employee engagement and create a positive work environment. When companies match contributions to charitable causes or encourage employees to volunteer together, that communicates they care about their employees’ interests outside of work. That’s why many companies encourage employees to donate, launch peer-to-peer campaigns, and volunteer for charities.
3 corporate giving opportunities
Corporate philanthropy isn’t limited to sponsorships and donations. There are several types of programs that companies can implement. Let’s look at four common ones you can start incorporating into your fundraising efforts.
1. Matching Gifts
One of the easiest ways to get started is through matching gifts. This involves businesses financially matching their employees’ donations to eligible nonprofits, effectively doubling (and sometimes tripling) the initial donation. Here’s how the process works:
- An employee donates to your cause.
- This supporter checks their eligibility for their company’s matching gift program.
- If eligible, the donor submits the request to the employer.
- The employer confirms the match request.
- The employer donates the predetermined amount to your organization.
In five easy steps, your nonprofit can receive larger donations, and donors can increase their impact. All they have to do is check their eligibility and alert their employer.
2. Volunteer Grants
Through volunteer grant programs, companies offer monetary grants to nonprofits where employees regularly volunteer. Typically, employees must meet a minimum threshold of hours to be eligible.
The process is almost identical to the matching gift process:
- A supporter spends a certain amount of time volunteering.
- The individual checks their company’s guidelines for volunteer grants.
- If eligible, the volunteer submits a request to their employer.
- The company confirms the number of hours spent volunteering with your nonprofit.
- The company donates the promised amount to your organization.
Companies frequently offer team volunteer grants, encouraging employees to volunteer together in exchange for a larger grant to the nonprofit. By turning supporters’ time into funds through volunteer grants, you can optimize the volunteer experience and amplify their impact.
3. Google Ad Grants
If you’re looking to boost your marketing efforts, look no further than Google Ad Grants.
According to Getting Attention’s ultimate guide to Google Ad Grants, the program “gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 in free advertising credits every month… Organizations can use their grant money to bid on different keywords and promote specific pages on their website through text-based ads.”
Nonprofits most often leverage the program to:
- Increase funding by amplifying donation and sponsorship pages
- Share volunteer opportunities
- Boost registrations for events like webinars and fun runs
- Increase awareness of their cause by sharing educational content
- Provide information about their services and programs
For instance, let’s say an environmental group wants to increase awareness for its climate change prevention efforts. They might create a campaign that targets terms like “prevent global warming,” “fight climate change,” and “donate to prevent climate change.” Then, they’d select a landing page, such as their donation form, and write an ad encouraging users to donate to their climate change efforts.
While the program is incredibly helpful, a lot of work goes into managing an Ad Grant account. Your nonprofit must meet the eligibility requirements, create ad campaigns, and monitor keyword performance. Ensure you have the staff bandwidth to manage your account, create well-written ads, and regularly adjust your campaigns.
Tips for leveraging corporate giving
Plenty of easy ways to include corporate giving in your fundraising efforts exist. It all depends on the areas where you want to grow your fundraising, but here are a few tips to get started.
Pursue opportunities that support your broader goals
Partnering with businesses and corporations is a great way to bolster your fundraising efforts. However, each opportunity you pursue should align with your organization’s larger goals. Take these for example:
- If your organization wants to boost its digital marketing efforts, consider applying for the Google Ad Grants program.
- If you want to fund a specific project, apply for a community grant.
- To increase volunteer satisfaction, look for volunteer grant opportunities in your network.
Any goals and opportunities you pursue should be specific and relevant to your mission. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time going after them.
Be smart about your corporate partners
Your nonprofit will be associated with a company once you engage with its corporate giving program. That means a company with a poor reputation can negatively impact your reputation. Similarly, those that don’t have missions that align with yours won’t be very valuable to your cause.
Use your mission as a guide when creating a list of prospective partners. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for a local health organization to partner with a bakery. An example of a more sensible partnership would be an organization that builds houses for the poor partnering with a hardware store.
Use a matching gift tool
Corporate giving software should be crucial to your nonprofit’s fundraising software toolkit. Specifically, look for a matching gift database that allows donors to research their eligibility. Offering your donors an employer search tool is one of the easiest ways to leverage gift matching.
Snowball’s guide to matching gift databases outlines key features to prioritize. When searching for the best tool, look for one that allows you to access:
- An accurate database that includes information about companies’ requirements
- Access to companies’ electronic forms for donors to fill out
- Quick and responsive support
- Data on individuals who take advantage of corporate philanthropy
With some tools, you can embed a matching gift database into your donation form. Matching gift tools with autosubmission functionality can even alert donors of their eligibility immediately upon donating. After the tool confirms the donor’s eligibility, a screen will come up asking for additional information. Then, the donor will check a box authorizing the tool to submit a matching gift request on their behalf. With this, you’ll be able to provide a streamlined way for donors to multiply their contributions.
How to promote corporate giving to your network
To boost participation in corporate giving, your supporters need to be aware of their opportunities. Improving outreach about corporate philanthropy will inspire them to check into their companies’ programs and verify their eligibility.
It’s your responsibility to mobilize them to determine their options, so consider these best practices to raise awareness among your network:
Optimize your website
Your website houses vital information about your mission and how the community can contribute. Make it a point to explain corporate giving and how your supporters can help. For example, you can:
- Make a page on your site that explains why corporate giving is mutually beneficial.
- Shout out corporate partners that support your work.
- Create an informational how-to page about submitting matching gift requests or starting a corporate giving program at your workplace.
- Feature corporate giving on your donation page.
These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling. Sit down with your digital marketing team (or whoever does marketing/communications on staff) to determine how you’ll use your site to promote corporate giving online.
Reach out personally to companies
If you notice several supporters work at a specific company, contact the business about starting a corporate giving program if they don't already have one. Sometimes, companies are unaware of this option and need a little push.
Explain the benefits they’ll receive from the partnership and how their support helps your mission. You can connect with companies through:
- A personalized letter
- A phone or video conference to explain the types of corporate giving
- An informational email newsletter
Sometimes, you need to take the extra step to make companies aware of opportunities like corporate giving. No matter how you reach out, be open to answering their questions.
Take advantage of your social media presence
Social media empowers you to reach supporters in their daily lives. Consider posting about corporate giving opportunities across Facebook, Instagram, and any other platform to spread awareness.
Especially when you host social fundraisers, you’ll want to make big pushes to promote CSR opportunities to supporters. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Post content native to each platform. For example, you might use Facebook to post a long-form informational article about corporate philanthropy; however, you wouldn’t put the same text in an Instagram caption.
- Provide ways to engage with corporate giving immediately. Across any social media platform, include links for immediate action. After all, these posts will be calls to action. For example, link straight to your matching gift database search tool for readers to check their eligibility.
- Attract new supporters along the way. Your social media is perfect for engaging current supporters and attracting new ones. Your followers will likely share your posts on their feeds, showing new users your content. Create eye-catching and easily shareable posts to attract new followers, particularly current supporters’ match-eligible coworkers.
With multiple ways to inform people about CSR opportunities, you can easily expand your corporate giving partnerships and raise awareness among supporters. Establishing these connections can transform your fundraising efforts and launch your mission forward. Once you’ve secured your partnerships, you’re on your way to boosting fundraising dollars and exposure for your cause.