Corporations are teaming up with the nonprofit sector more than ever before. The corporate community has proved itself a powerful ally to nonprofits. In fact, a recent Conference Board survey concluded that, for roughly two out of three large North American corporations, using philanthropy to advance their business goals is a top priority. (These business goals included the enhancement of their corporate image and reputation, customer loyalty, and positive customer investment decisions).
A partnership with the right corporation can help your nonprofit access skills, funding, resources, and people to extend your reach and your impact. When this relationship is sustained over time, your nonprofit can even explore new strategies for developing solutions for social problems.
What are corporate partnerships?
Historically, the relationship between nonprofits and for-profits has been centered around sponsorship. A company donate to a nonprofit, and in return, the nonprofit would display the company’s name or logo at their event. Now, these relationships are moving towards a partnership. Companies and nonprofits with common goals and missions are linking up for the benefit of one another.
What are key parts of a corporate partnership?
Corporate partnerships can take any of the following forms:
- Workplace-giving programs. Workplace-giving programs offer an efficient and easy way to make charitable contributions to the causes a company cares about. Some workplaces allow employees to deduct the donation directly from their paycheck, which can make thier contribution more financially manageable. Galaxy Digital is active in employee giving through the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Middle School Success Program. Our company also participates in donation matching, which is a popular way for companies to encourage their employees to donate more.
- Cash and in-kind donations. There are two kinds of donations that can be made to a charity. There is a cash donation, or the transfer of funds to a nonprofit. There is also an in-kind donation, which is the transfer of any other kind of asset. Some examples of in-kind donations include computer software; a used car; a skill, like legal counsel; or a service, like administrative support.
- Cause marketing. Cause Marketing is a mutually beneficial marketing relationship between a nonprofit and a business or corporation. Corporate partners will leverage the good will that is associated with a social or environmental cause, and use it to differentiate a product in the hopes of encouraging consumers to switch brands, increase loyalty, or drive sales. Nonprofits benefit in that they enjoy heightened visibility to potential donors, as well as an influx of funding for their cause. A notable example of cause marketing is Coke’s relationship with the World Wildlife Fund. This marketing campaign has raised over three million in donations to date!
- Event sponsorship. Event sponsorship is very similar to cause marketing, though it generally happens in the form of an event. The intention is to draw positive associations between the corporation and the organizers of the event, whether they’re from a sports, art, or charity organization. This link is cemented through the name of the event, or by displaying corporate logos on promotional materials or during the event itself.
- Skills-based volunteerism. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, “Skills-based volunteering means leveraging the specialized skills and talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their missions.” The popularity of SBV is growing; over 50% of companies with a volunteer program are doing skills-based volunteerism.
Often corporate partnerships consist of a combination of any these.
In the past few years, the rise of B-Corporations has signified a clear shift in strategy among corporations. To be certified as a B-Corporation, a company must “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” Increasingly, other for-profit companies are declaring their relevancy in the fight for social change, and have expressed their desire to do their part for collective impact efforts.
The benefits of corporate partnerships cannot be overstated. Ninety-one percent of consumers are more likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause, if that brand is of the same quality and price. Moreover, 84% of company executives reported increased bottom-line benefits after they started an employee volunteer program. And a nonprofit can benefit from the new skills, funding, resources, and people that a corporation can provide. It’s a win-win!
If you work with corporate partnerships at your nonprofit, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also published on Medium.