Corporate giving presents a unique opportunity for nonprofits and their fundraising efforts. Although it represents only a slice of all charitable funding, corporate philanthropy is still an important driver of nonprofit programs across the country. According to the Giving USA 2018 Annual Report, corporate giving totaled $20.77 billion in 2017. As companies and their employees increasingly seek to give back, nonprofits can benefit from leveraging corporate contributions to increase revenue and forge robust relationships.
But how should your nonprofit approach corporate giving? Here, we go over four smart ways a nonprofit organization can tap into the power of corporate giving.
- Choose your partner wisely
- Prepare a value proposition
- Explore non-monetary options
- Build the campaign and assets ahead of time
Corporate Giving Tip #1: Choose Your Partner Wisely
When seeking corporate giving opportunities, it’s extremely important to choose a compatible partner. Make no mistake, failing to choose wisely can stir controversy and damage your organization’s reputation.
Take a note from the previous 3-year partnership between UNICEF Canada and Cadbury; the public was quick to note inconsistencies between the organization’s cause – to advocate for children’s health and development – and the role of candy as an unhealthy food for children.
In your search, make sure to identify a partner who aligns with your organization’s mission and core values.
When building a corporate giving program, approach companies whose business correlates with your cause. In a survey conducted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, a healthy majority of companies (77 percent) say identifying a nonprofit whose mission overlaps with the company’s philanthropic values is important in order to establish a corporate giving partnership.
To illustrate, many companies that partner with Habitat for Humanity, the organization dedicated to building and repairing houses for low-income families, also focus on house repair. Valpar, a paint and coating manufacturer, and Lowe’s Home Improvement are just a couple of the nonprofit’s legacy partners.
To Start, Go for Local Small Businesses
In addition to looking for corporations that align with your mission, try setting your eyes on those that are within your reach. Because it might be difficult for small organizations to reach large corporations, smaller nonprofits might find more success by reaching out to local businesses that are proportional in size to their organization. Not only would it easier to build ties with local businesses, but these same-size companies might more readily recognize the publicity and benefits a partnership can provide. When approaching these businesses, describe how a partnership will allow them to both leverage your organization’s reach and promote their contributions to the local community.
Corporate Giving Tip #2: Prepare a Value Proposition
Keep in mind you will need to demonstrate the value of a partnership to the companies you approach. Beyond creating social impact, what incentivizes corporations to back your organization? What impact will they be making in the community? Will their contributions gain positive publicity?
One great approach is to offer businesses the option to sponsor a donation match campaign. This allows them to double the impact of their contributions, and it also maximizes their brand’s exposure to your organization’s audience. Fundraising software like Classy allows you to automatically display a sponsor’s logo on landing pages and donation receipts whenever a gift is matched.
A company’s reach can stretch even farther if they host a donation matching period during your peer-to-peer campaign. Because individual fundraisers will solicit friends and family for donations, the sponsor’s logo would also reach third-party donors who give to personal fundraising campaigns.
Corporate Giving Tip #3: Explore Non-Monetary Options
Nonprofits are quick to seek large grants or contributions, but monetary gifts are not the only form of corporate giving. In fact, many corporations opt to give in-kind support, like donated goods or staff expertise. This type of contribution helps to fulfill their philanthropic values, fuel the nonprofit’s mission, and engage their employees.
Rather than simply asking for a check upfront, requesting in-kind support may help start off a relationship with a corporate giving partner on the right foot. Identify local businesses whose mission coincides with yours, and explore ways they might donate goods or staff expertise to support your cause. This type of meaningful support can help to forge a strong partnership.
For instance, MAC Cosmetics has been a longtime sponsor of Broadway Bares, the annual burlesque fundraising event benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Not only does the company share a passion for the cause, but the annual fundraiser provides an opportunity for MAC artists to offer their time and talents backstage. Since 1997, the cosmetics manufacturer has donated makeup and skilled staffers to create amazing looks for the performers every year.
Corporate Giving Tip #4: Build the Campaign and Assets Ahead of Time
Speaking of employee engagement, a large piece of American corporate giving efforts comes from employee giving campaigns. According to a 2013 report, workplace giving programs in the United States raise $3 billion every year in charitable funding.
While companies want to empower employees to give back, time-crunched employers often struggle with administering a corporate giving campaign effectively. This presents a unique opportunity for nonprofits. You can make it easier for employers to administer and execute a partner campaign by creating the campaign and assets for them.
Build an Effective Corporate Giving Campaign
First, create the campaign page ahead of time. Then, with the right nonprofit fundraising software, you can easily hand over the completed page to help your corporate partner get the campaign rolling immediately. With Classy, you can quickly hand over control of a campaign page by adding your partner as a campaign administrator.
This will give them complete access to the campaign setup, and they will also be able to add any campaign-specific company branding.
The report also found that more than half of surveyed employers hope to implement peer-to-peer elements and social media tools into their giving campaigns. This would allow employees to spread the word about their charitable involvement online. Lighten the load on your corporate partner’s shoulders by creating a fundraising toolkit ahead of time.
A corporate giving toolkit should include:
• Sample social media posts
• Email appeal templates
• Photos from your fieldwork
• Video testimonials by beneficiaries or volunteers
• A personal message from your staff or board member
• Suggestions for campaign hashtags to track social media engagement
No matter its size or mission, any nonprofit can implement a corporate giving program. You can increase your chances for success, however, by choosing the right partner and demonstrating how a relationship is mutually beneficial. With these practices in hand, you can reel in corporate contributions to maximize your fundraising!