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5 ways to leverage corporate philanthropy for nonprofits

Bonterra Author
September 14, 2022
Two nonprofit professionals examine a bulletin board to determine how to leverage corporate philanthropy for nonprofits.

Many corporations engage in corporate philanthropy to develop mutually beneficial relationships with nonprofit organizations and make a difference in their communities. Typically, they donate money, time, or resources to causes their employees or customers care about. In exchange, the company benefits from happier employees and a boost to its reputation.

Corporate giving is increasingly trending toward employee-centric giving programs, such as matching gifts and volunteer grants. With an estimated $2-$3 billion dollars donated through matching gift programs annually, it’s no surprise that nonprofits are beginning to leverage corporate philanthropy as part of their fundraising strategies.

To help your organization make the most of all corporate philanthropy programs have to offer, let’s discuss some effective ways to optimize corporate philanthropy programs for nonprofits in this guide.

1. Spread awareness of corporate philanthropy programs

According to Double the Donation, 78% of eligible donors have no idea that their employer offers a matching gift program. Therefore, it’s essential for nonprofits to take a proactive approach toward spreading awareness of corporate philanthropy programs to both supporters and staff.

Incorporate awareness marketing into your organization’s corporate giving strategy. For instance, consider:

  • Featuring important corporate philanthropy information on your website.
  • Sharing educational resources on social media platforms.
  • Sending out corporate philanthropy details in emails and newsletters.

By ensuring that your supporters are aware of corporate philanthropy opportunities, your nonprofit can maximize the impact of their gifts and secure additional funds to power your purpose.

2. Facilitate access to corporate philanthropy program guidelines

Most companies with workplace giving programs should provide a set of guidelines to employees detailing participation eligibility criteria. For matching gifts, these typically include matchable donation minimum and maximum amounts and a match ratio to determine the match size. For volunteer grants, guidelines may stipulate a particular threshold of eligible hours volunteered, along with the stipend or grant size offered.

Additionally, both types of programs often consider factors like the receiving organization, the type of employee requesting a match (full-time, part-time, retired, etc.), and the deadline by which the request must be made.

Make it easy for your donors to understand their employers’ giving guidelines and participate by leveraging a corporate giving database. By simply typing a company’s name into the search tool, individuals can automatically access all of its giving program guidelines.

3. Educate donors about corporate philanthropy participation

Once your donors are aware of corporate philanthropy opportunities, it’s important to proactively communicate with them to ensure that they understand the complete process. Since this can differ greatly from one company to another, provide donors with step-by-step instructions specific to their employer whenever possible. 

This is where your matching gift database can come in handy once more. When a donor conducts a search of their employer’s giving programs using the search tool, most results populate with some form of instructions for participation. This might include:

  • Direct links to the company’s workplace giving portal or other online forms.
  • Downloadable PDF and paper forms.
  • Name and contact information for someone within the company who can answer questions regarding program participation.

Your nonprofit can further encourage donors to take advantage of their companies’ workplace giving programs by assuring them that the process of requesting participation usually takes only a few minutes at most.

4. Follow up with donors about corporate philanthropy opportunities

Be sure to keep in touch with supporters whom you’ve identified as likely to be eligible for corporate giving participation. For matching gift donors, that might mean taking note of donations that meet a company’s eligibility criteria. For volunteer grants, supporters may become eligible when they reach a certain number of hours in the year.

After the donation, volunteer event, or other qualifying engagement occurs, follow up with your nonprofit’s supporters to remind them about their employers’ workplace giving opportunities.

Here’s what this can look like:

  • For match-eligible donors: “Joshua, thank you for your generous donation of $500 to Atlanta University. Gifts like yours are what help us keep our purpose alive. We’ve also noticed that your donation is likely eligible for a corporate match through your employer⁠! Click this link to begin the gift matching process.”
  • For volunteer grants: “Brenda, thank you for regularly volunteering your time with the Cat Rescue Club. Did you know that after reaching 50 volunteer hours in a year (which you surpassed today), you’re now eligible to request a volunteer grant from your employer on our behalf? Learn more about the process here!”

As you can see from these examples, any corporate giving follow-up message should begin with an acknowledgment of the supporter’s contribution to your organization. Then, encourage them to increase their impact by reminding them about available workplace-giving opportunities.

5. Leverage technology to make the most of corporate philanthropy

With matching gift automation software, your nonprofit can streamline all of the above tasks so you can do more with corporate philanthropy without having to dedicate excess time and resources to it.

Equip your team with best-in-class fundraising software designed for corporate giving maximization. The right nonprofit fundraising and engagement platform will empower your organization to easily highlight matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other corporate fundraising initiatives across your donation forms, confirmation screens, follow-up emails, and more.

The power of corporate philanthropy for nonprofits

Corporate philanthropy is on the rise and has the potential to significantly elevate any organization’s fundraising efforts. The right technology can help nonprofit teams make the most of strategic business partnerships to raise more for their purpose without dramatically increasing demands on their staff’s time or energy. 

Remember to always thank your donors for checking their eligibility and securing matching gifts. By following up on the impact of their contributions, you’ll encourage them to continue their support into the future.

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Written by

Bonterra Author
    Donor Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing
  • Fundraising ideas