[GUEST POST] 5 Best Ways to Harness Corporate Philanthropy in 2022

Corporate philanthropy, workplace giving, corporate social responsibility ⁠— they’re all things that equip for-profit businesses to make a positive impact on the world around them. By partnering with charitable organizations already doing the work while engaging employees and consumers alike, corporate philanthropy continues to be a growing fundraising trend across the mission-driven sector.

As a nonprofit professional, you’re likely familiar with these concepts and perhaps have strategies in place to make the most of such opportunities. But there’s always room to grow. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most impactful ways that organizations can maximize corporate giving for their causes.

Here, we’ll cover the following practices:

  1. Inform donors about corporate giving opportunities.
  2. Reach out to regular volunteers about volunteer grants.
  3. Encourage donors to seek matching gifts.
  4. Keep track of your supporters’ employers.
  5. Look for mission-driven companies with similar values.

Ready to dive into top corporate philanthropy strategies that will set your organization up for ongoing success in the new year and beyond? Let’s get started!

1. Inform donors about corporate giving opportunities.

According to fundraising research by Double the Donation, more than 26 million individuals are eligible for workplace giving programs, such as matching gifts and volunteer grants (more on those below). Unfortunately, the vast majority of this group is completely unaware of the philanthropic opportunities at their fingertips.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure your supporters are being informed about their employers’ giving programs is by leveraging corporate giving software, such as a matching gift or volunteer grant database. This type of tool can be seamlessly embedded into your online donation pages, peer-to-peer campaigns, volunteer sign-up forms, and more using a simple integration with existing fundraising software. Then, nonprofit supporters can interact with the tool, allowing them to determine their eligibility status and track key employment data for your organization.

Other impactful strategies involve raising awareness surrounding corporate and workplace giving programs in general. By sharing information on your nonprofit’s website, email blasts, social media profiles, and more, you can ensure more charitable-minded individuals are aware of corporate giving opportunities and consider participating.

2. Reach out to regular volunteers about volunteer grants.

More than likely, your organization already has a group of regular, dedicated volunteers who donate their time and effort to aid your cause. Many of these individuals may also give financially to your cause. But even if they don’t, their volunteer hours still have the potential to provide your organization with monetary value through corporate volunteer grants.

Volunteer grants are corporate donations made by businesses that employ nonprofit volunteers. If an individual works for a company with a volunteer grant program, they may be eligible to request a grant on your nonprofit’s behalf once they volunteer a certain number of hours.

Here’s how this type of corporate giving program typically works:

  1. An individual volunteers with a nonprofit on a regular basis.
  2. The individual determines that their employer offers volunteer grants.
  3. The individual submits a grant request to their employer with a report of hours volunteered with the organization.
  4. The company reviews the request, verifies the volunteer hours, and cuts their check according to the number of hours volunteered by the employee.

Not only do volunteer grant opportunities allow your organization to collect more dollars in corporate funding (which can add up quickly!), but they also encourage volunteers to get further engaged in your mission by making an even greater difference to a cause they clearly already care about.

3. Encourage donors to seek matching gifts.

Similar to volunteer grants, matching gifts are another form of workplace giving program in which companies offer financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that their employees support. In the case of matching gifts, however, the business matches individual donor dollars (typically at a dollar-for-dollar ratio) to provide causes with free, bonus donations.

While the exact procedure can vary based on the companies and organizations involved, here’s what the basic process looks like:

  1. A donor makes a charitable gift to a nonprofit organization.
  2. The donor researches whether their employer will match nonprofit donations.
  3. If eligible, the donor submits a request to the company along with a copy of their initial donation receipt.
  4. The company verifies the initial donation was made to the nonprofit and makes their matching gift.

To motivate match-eligible donors to request their company matches, we recommend employing personalized post-donation follow-up communication. A few days after an individual submits a gift, you can share information on the impact and availability of matching gifts to help encourage supporters to take the next steps.

4. Keep track of your supporters’ employers.

So many of your donors and volunteers are eligible for workplace giving programs without knowing about it⁠ — but how can you close that knowledge gap? By keeping track of supporter employment data on your own.

If you know the companies that your supporters work for, you can guide individuals through the process of requesting and securing corporate matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other charitable donations for your cause.

For example, you can provide them with business-specific guidelines, instructions, and submission links to further reduce the amount of effort required of the individual to participate in available programs. The less research they have to do on their own, the more likely they’ll be to follow through with the process.

5. Look for mission-driven companies with similar values.

If you’re aiming to launch your nonprofit’s search for corporate partners, you may want to start with considering companies that are known for being particularly charitable. Then, compare these well-known businesses with the companies you know your supporters work for.

As you look to craft corporate partnerships, however, think about the mission values of any potential companies you’d work with to ensure they align with your own. Otherwise, you risk your organization’s own reputation being tied to one with mismatched ideals.

Luckily, many companies make their values, beliefs, and goals publicly available (often on their websites) to take a look at before diving into a partnership, which can ensure it’s a good fit for both parties involved.

For example, if you run a local animal shelter, you might want to reach out to pet supply retailers with prospective corporate philanthropic opportunities. On the other hand, if you are a part of an environmental nonprofit, consider partnering with companies whose CSR efforts involve protecting the environment around them.

If your organization isn’t already targeting corporate philanthropy in your overall fundraising plan, you’re likely leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table. Incorporating these five ideas and practices can be a great place to start, but ultimately, the possibilities are endless. Good luck, and happy fundraising!

by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation

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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