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How can corporate philanthropy work best for nonprofits?

If you’re looking to set your nonprofit’s fundraising program up for ongoing future success, making the most of corporate philanthropy is a fantastic way to help.

Many organizations already benefit from corporate philanthropy in one way or another—but most aren’t maximizing that benefit. That’s where this handy guide comes in.

Here, we’ll discuss what corporate philanthropy is and some of the most common examples, along with the powerful benefits offered to nonprofits who leverage it. Let’s get started!

Corporate philanthropy: The basics

Before diving into how corporate philanthropy can help your nonprofit, it’s important to craft a solid foundation of the basics. We’ll answer the following essential questions:

What is corporate philanthropy?

Corporate philanthropy, also known as corporate giving, is a key facet of corporate social responsibility. When businesses participate in corporate philanthropy and other CSR efforts, they attempt to make the world a better place by promoting the welfare of others.

This often occurs by partnering with nonprofit organizations, typically through donations of time, money or resources.

What are the most common types of corporate philanthropy?

Corporate giving comes in many shapes and sizes. To make the most of this funding source, it’s important to understand and target the right methods. These are two of the most common types of corporate giving:

  • Matching gifts: Corporate matching gifts are a significantly underutilized form of nonprofit fundraising. In this type of corporate giving, charitable businesses choose to financially match donations made by their employees to eligible nonprofits. Although these are often made dollar for dollar, some businesses match at a lower rate, such as .5:1, while others opt for a higher ratio, like 2:1 or even 3:1.
  • Volunteer grants: Similar to matching gifts, corporate volunteer grants allow businesses to fund the organizations their employees care for by making monetary contributions as a result of individual support. The biggest difference here is that a donation is made in response to employees volunteering, rather than the employee giving financially to the nonprofit.

Businesses might also choose to participate in philanthropy through event sponsorships, automatic employee paycheck deductions, community grants, in-kind product donations and more.

Corporate giving statistics to know

If you’re looking to understand the untapped potential of corporate giving, exploring powerful statistics is an excellent way to go. Here are a few that stand out:

  • Corporations gave more than $21 billion to nonprofits last year, with over $2 billion coming from the top 10 companies. And yet, there are still billions of dollars in unclaimed corporate donations left sitting on the table. Perhaps your organization is already receiving a portion of that total, but chances are you could collect a ton more with the right tools and strategies.
  • Many companies are continuing to grow their matching gift and other corporate giving programs. Corporate philanthropy is a growing industry, and as a nonprofit, it pays significantly to put in the effort on your side as well. When you take a strategic approach to corporate fundraising, you’ll receive more revenue for your mission and build better relationships with charitable-minded businesses.
  • Leveraging an automation tool can double or triple an organization’s corporate giving revenue. The right software can make a huge difference in the overall corporate giving revenue collected by a nonprofit. For example, organizations that leverage 360MatchPro have seen an average of two or three times the matching gifts that they’d been securing previously.

Facts and figures like these can help you and your team better visualize the potential that corporate philanthropy can have on your fundraising efforts. As you can see, it’s an extremely impactful (and underutilized) form of funding that any nonprofit should consider.

Key benefits of corporate philanthropy

Now you know what corporate philanthropy is—how can it work for your organization? Let’s explore the following critical benefits:

1. Increase your fundraising ROI.

One of the best ways to maximize your fundraising return on investment, or ROI, is to leverage corporate giving strategically. Every donation ask you make comes with an associated cost (such as for marketing, promotion and donor outreach). Luckily, corporate giving allows you to raise more money for your cause with fewer required resources on your end.

How? For one thing, corporate donations are often significantly larger than that of a single individual donor. Additionally, opportunities like matching gift programs allow you to receive bonus donations for the cost of soliciting only the first.

2. Allow donors to make a larger impact.

Corporate giving also allows your supporters to do more for your mission. Matching gift programs, in particular, equip mass-market and mid-level donors to make a significantly larger impact on your mission. This encourages them to feel like critical partners in your efforts.

Similarly, volunteer grants allow dedicated volunteers to provide for your mission financially as well, even if the funds don’t come from their wallets directly. When donors feel more deeply connected to your cause, they’ll be more likely to continue supporting your efforts in the long run.

3. Create mutually beneficial business partnerships.

Corporate giving benefits not only the organization receiving the funds but the business on the giving end as well. When you leverage corporate philanthropy strategies to raise more through business funding, you also build and develop these mutually beneficial partnerships.

For your organization, you’ll receive much-needed funding and improved donor commitment. The businesses involved typically see increased employee engagement, better public relations, and more. Since both parties involved are able to benefit, it sets the foundation for ongoing partnerships.

Corporate philanthropy is essentially the crossroads between the for-profit and the nonprofit world. As a charitable organization, taking the time to develop a plan can allow your team to raise more through this powerful funding strategy and better pursue your mission and vision. Good luck!

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

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