The Nonprofit Guide to Corporate Philanthropy

nonprofit philantrophy corporate 
We all know about corporate social responsibility, but what about corporate philanthropy.
With so many opportunities to focus on individual donors, it’s also valuable to have a corporate program as part of your strategy.  With the huge sea change of COVID-19 and more and more stakeholders demanding corporations be better corporate citizens, many companies will offer programs to invest in the community through local nonprofit organizations.

What Exactly is considered Social Impact?

It's when corporations contribute to nonprofits and charities through their time, donations, volunteering, sponsorships, in-kind gifts that help further the organization’s mission.  This synergy is particularly impactful when both the charity’s and the corporation’s missions are aligned and working towards the same goals. 
There are many benefits to partnering with corporations, a lot that nonprofits don’t even know about.

So corporate philanthropy falls under the umbrella of CSR but deals directly with charitable actions or giving.

Different Types Of Corporate Social Impact and Philanthropy 

Matching Gifts

Many people are familiar with matching gift programs. Companies will match the donations of an employee to an eligible nonprofit, usually in the form of a ratio. So they can match a donation 1:1, 2:1 or even 3:1 if they are feeling generous! 

This is a prevalent form of corporate giving as it is an easy way to give back while encouraging a culture of giving within your company. Employees have to know about the program and request it, so if your nonprofit is eligible, it might be helpful to have resources available for donors to share with their employers or vice versa. 
So encourage donors to check and see if their companies offer corporate gift matching! 

Volunteer Grants

While matching gifts focus on monetary donations, volunteer grants focus on charitable acts. So when employees volunteer their time, skills and energy to an organization, their employers will donate. 

Corporations will outline the parameters of their volunteer grant programs by having a minimum amount of hours needed to be eligible and the amount they will donate in exchange for those hours (for example donating $50 for every 15 hours of volunteering).

Corporate Sponsorships

Corporate sponsorships are incredibly common in the nonprofit industry as they are mutually beneficial. Nonprofits receive the funding they need to keep doing incredible work while the business receives some marketing and promotion that helps them look good to their customers.

Mike Cole came on the Fundraising Superheroes Podcast a few weeks ago to talk about nonprofits partnering with businesses. It’s all about finding a connection, maybe you serve the same people, have similar values or work in the same industry. Your partnership has to make sense in order to work. 

The second step is to approach a business with a sponsorship idea that is mutually beneficial. Mike calls it "the bucket” and outlines how to create one in our interview. 
 

In-Kind Donations

In-kind gifts are non-monetary donations companies offer to help nonprofits fill a need. It can be physical items like supplying food for an event or services like providing free graphic design services during an extensive rebrand. Make sure to double-check with the IRS or CRA on what services and gifts are tax-deductible. Some are not so it’s essential to be aware before accepting gifts from a donor. 

How Can Nonprofits Benefit From Corporate Philanthropy?

Nonprofits have so many opportunities to engage with corporations to as part of their social impact initiatives.  According to double the donation:
  • 84% of donors say they’re more likely to give if they know their company will match their gift.
  • More than 18 million people are eligible for matched gifts via corporate philanthropy programs.
  • 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs for their employees.
When taking advantage of corporate philanthropy, it's essential to work with businesses that share your same values or are in a similar niche to make the most of the connection. Think about the opportunities an animal shelter could have when partnering with a local dog trainer?

The dog trainer can promote their services at events, maybe write a few guest posts for their blog, and encourage clients to adopt from that shelter. In the same way, they support the nonprofit, the organization can encourage new dog parents to take classes with that trainer as they have plenty of experience working with shelter dogs.
Get creative and present an option to the business in a way that benefits you both.

How It Benefits Businesses

Businesses can also find huge benefits in partnering with organizations like yours.
 

Develop a Positive Image In the Community

People take notice when businesses go out of their way to support nonprofits, especially ones centred in their community. It improves the image others have of them because it shows that they are generous and active in contributing to the greater good.

Better Relationships With Customers

Customers notice when their favourite companies give back. They appreciate it when a company works hard to support their community. It makes them more willing to support the company and perhaps even the nonprofit they are associated with.

Better Workplace Environment

Fundraising with employees not only is a great way to give back but also engage staff members. It provides an opportunity to build upon company culture and get people collaborating on something outside of work which is great for boosting morale around the office. 

Engaged employees not only are happier at work but tend to perform better which is a huge win for businesses (and nonprofits). 

How to Take Advantage of Corporate Giving

It's a common misconception to think that it's on the corporations to initiate corporate philanthropy when it should be the nonprofits who should be taking the initiative to reach out.

Most companies don't have the time or motive to actively seek our philanthropic opportunities, or they don't prioritize it because it generally offers an indirect benefit. It's hard to measure things like positive perception, better company culture or improved customer relationships.

Nonprofits have a direct benefit of larger donations that go further toward impacting their missions. This puts a lot more responsibility on nonprofits to take the initiative with corporations in showing them how they can benefit from a partnership.
Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to promote corporate philanthropy.

Incorporate a Corporate Matching Search Bar On Your Donation Pages

Try incorporating a matching gift database directly on your donation pages so donors can check their eligibility for corporate matches.

Create a Page For Corporate Giving

Dedicate a page on your website that outlines different corporate philanthropy opportunities. You can direct supporters and companies to the page to get more information on your nonprofit and the benefits of working with you.

Be Active In Promoting Corporate Giving Opportunities

Consider dedicating a section to educating on potential corporate philanthropy opportunities linking back to that web page if you have a mailing list or newsletter.
Then support those emails by actively posting on social media. Let your followers know you are actively looking for opportunities to engage with local businesses or corporations and have resources available for those who want to learn more.

Don't Forget To Follow Up

After working with a corporation or business, prepare a report that outlines the initiatives, the fulfillment of the benefits and any measured success - including metrics like social likes, page views or event attendee information.  Send a letter of appreciation thanking them for working with you and highlight key major partnerships in your annual reports and other communication materials. Just as you would with your donors, it's important to steward these businesses and let them know you appreciated their effort. 

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Leadership Jun 4, 2021, 12:00 AM

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