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Best Practices for Leveraging Corporate Philanthropy

Article by Adam Weinger, President at Double the Donation

Corporate giving programs can rake in additional revenue for nonprofits—no matter the organization’s size.

Businesses recognize their social responsibility and how it can lead to positive brand recognition. They want to give back to their communities and promote a positive, generous work environment. 

The point is corporate giving is intended to be mutually beneficial. Nonprofits receive the support they need to continue working toward their missions, all while businesses encourage philanthropic, happy employees. In other words, don’t pass up these opportunities.

Despite all the good these programs do, most nonprofits don’t include corporate giving in their fundraising strategy. Even when they do, they’re likely not using them to their full potential.

To fully prep your team for leveraging corporate philanthropy, brush up on all the essential details. Then, use these best practices to maximize your revenue:

  1. Actively promote corporate philanthropy.
  2. Invest in dedicated corporate giving software.
  3. Form partnerships with companies with similar values.
  4. Regularly follow up with donors.
  5. Leverage fundraising match programs.

Get one step ahead of the game, and start leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR) in your fundraising strategy. Ready to start boosting your revenue? Let’s get started!

1. Actively promote corporate philanthropy.

The first step in acquiring corporate giving revenue is to properly market these opportunities. There are a number of ways you can do this, such as:

  • A dedicated matching gift page. When designing your website’s matching gift page, include information on what matching gifts are, how they help your organization, and typical steps in the process. Then, if your nonprofit invests in a search tool to determine a supporter’s eligibility, include it on this page. To learn more, check out 360MatchPro’s guide to matching gifts.
  • A Ways to Give page. This page should list a number of different ways for users to support your mission. This includes online donations, direct mail donations, matching gifts, volunteerism, volunteer grants, and so on. Make sure each section includes explanations, contact information when necessary, and links to relevant pages on your website.
  • Newsletters. As an established nonprofit, you’re likely sending newsletters on a regular basis. This is the perfect time to promote corporate giving! For instance, you can dedicate a whole newsletter to CSR or even a small section explaining what it is and how supporters can participate.
  • Paper inserts. Anytime you send tangible communications, you should include a paper insert on corporate giving. It can be as simple as telling them what it is and providing them with a link to your corporate giving page. Just make sure it’s eye-catching, persuasive, and straight to the point!
  • Educational resources. The best way to encourage supporters to research corporate giving is by providing them with the resources they need. If your organization regularly updates an online blog, consider creating posts about the corporate giving process, mention some essential CSR statistics, and tell emotional stories about how corporate philanthropy has impacted the nonprofit.

However, to promote corporate philanthropy to the fullest extent, team members will need to be fully educated on matching gifts, volunteer grants, and any other major giving programs. That way, when supporters come to team members with questions, they’ll have an immediate answer.

2. Invest in dedicated corporate giving software.

Pinpointing revenue opportunities can take a substantial amount of time and effort. This is especially true when you have a large donor base. Plus, human error is inevitable, meaning you’ll likely overlook some opportunities. That’s where dedicated corporate giving software comes into play!

A comprehensive matching gift database ensures nonprofits won’t overlook corporate giving opportunities. Specifically, the right tool will gather the following available information on specific companies’ programs:

  • Match ratios
  • Minimum and maximum match amounts
  • Employee eligibility requirements
  • Nonprofit eligibility requirements
  • Matching gift submission deadlines
  • Forms and additional guidelines

A comprehensive database will also gather all the available information for companies’ volunteer grant programs. It’s vital for nonprofits, donors, and volunteers to stay on top of employers’ giving programs.

Also, there are a number of other software platforms that can increase your supporter involvement, indirectly increasing your corporate giving revenue. 

For instance, volunteer management software can boost volunteer attendance and involvement. This could potentially skyrocket your volunteer grant revenue. Plus, when you have a comprehensive management platform, you’ll save loads of time. It’s all about pinpointing these opportunities.

Corporate giving isn’t just about donors; it’s about volunteers, too! Arm all of your supporters with the knowledge they need to multiply their contributions, and they will. After all, they’ve already put in the work, so why wouldn’t they take 5 minutes to submit a grant request to their employer?

3. Form partnerships with companies with similar values.

When companies partake in CSR initiatives, they often seek out nonprofits whose values align with theirs. When forming partnerships with local companies, your nonprofit should take this same approach. Otherwise, these relationships won’t be quite as strong.

While sponsorships are great for short-term initiatives like fundraising events, partnerships provide you with long-term support like an increased volunteer base. In other words, sponsorships are solely financially based, while partnerships describe continuous support for both the business and the nonprofit. Plus, partnerships have the potential to turn into ongoing sponsorships too, providing long-term financial support!

Remember, partnerships are meant to be mutually beneficial. Through these partnerships, nonprofits give their business partners the following:

  • Inexpensive marketing opportunities
  • Increased employee morale and retention
  • Public recognition for their support
  • Developed employee skills
  • Volunteer opportunities

For the other half of the corporate-nonprofit relationship, businesses give their nonprofit partners the following:

  • Motivated, skilled volunteers
  • Public recognition by promoting events
  • Increased revenue opportunities
  • Relationships with other businesses

However, don’t stop there! Nonprofits can leverage corporate giving even further with these partnerships. 

For instance, if your corporate partner hosts a volunteer day, make sure you look into their giving program guidelines. They may offer volunteer grants (learn more here!), or even better, they may offer team volunteer grants. In other words, when a team of employees volunteer a certain number of hours with your nonprofit, your nonprofit may be eligible for a grant from the company.

Forming long-term corporate partnerships takes your giving strategy to the next level! Start by looking at your current supporter base to see which employers have a prominent presence in your organization.

4. Regularly follow up with donors.

When a donor contributes to your cause, your nonprofit should always follow up. Thanking your donors is a major part of donor retention, but did you know that matching gift appeals can be too?

When donors know they can increase their contributions, they will. They already see your cause as worthy of their hard-earned money. Why wouldn’t they want to multiply their impact without reaching back into their own wallets? They’ll know they’re making a powerful difference and will feel much more vital to your cause.

Start by incorporating matching gift appeals in your thank you letters. Whether it’s an email or a handwritten letter doesn’t matter—as long as there’s some sort of personal touch. Encourage donors to check their companies’ guidelines and tell them how to complete a match request.

Before doing this, make sure the donation is match-eligible by checking the company’s guidelines. There’s no point in bringing up matching gifts to a donor who’s ineligible.

To take it a step further, include a matching gift search tool on your donation page. That way, donors can research their companies and will know if they’ll be eligible before they donate. In many cases, this may encourage them to even increase their gifts, because they know they it’ll make even more of a difference.

As soon as a donor expresses interest, your team should follow up by ensuring they have all the information they need. From there, drive their match to completion by staying updated on where they are in the process. Don’t leave that important matching gift revenue on the table!

5. Leverage fundraising match programs.

As a prominent player in the nonprofit sector, your team likely already knows about matching gifts. However, do you know about fundraising matches?

In matching gift programs, a company will only match the amount an employee donates. However, fundraising match programs are a bit different and put a unique twist on traditional matching gifts. 

During your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, an employer that offers fundraising matches might double (maybe even triple!) the donations raised by employees for your organization. Yes, you read that right! A company with a fundraising match program will match all the funds an employee raises on behalf of an eligible nonprofit.

To start leveraging these opportunities, consider hosting the following events:

  • Walkathon
  • Dance-a-thon
  • Bike-a-thon

To refresh your memory, run/walk/ride events involve volunteer fundraisers collecting pledged donations and then running/walking/riding the furthest distance they can. The further they go, the more money they collect!

On the other hand, a company that offers fundraising matches may take a different approach. For instance, instead of matching pledged donations, the company may offer a set grant amount for every event an employee participates in.

Regardless of which direction a company takes with its program, fundraising matches can boost your revenue, helping you reach your fundraising goals. Plus, they’re a great volunteer recruitment strategy!

Remember, some types of nonprofits may be excluded by the company, so make sure to stay up-to-date on all relevant employers’ programs.

When revamping your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, you should also leverage corporate philanthropy. To do this, look into matching gifts, volunteer grants, corporate partnerships, and fundraising matches, because those represent your largest revenue opportunities. 

Once your team develops a solid understanding of each opportunity, actively promote them. Remember, not every company offers the same programs, so ensure you’re up-to-date with all of the giving opportunities using the right technology. 

Start using corporate philanthropy to your advantage, and your nonprofit will be one giant step closer to its fundraising goals!

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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