Corporate Philanthropy and Fundraising: 3 Smart Integrations

Corporate Philanthropy and Fundraising: 3 Smart Integrations

Corporate giving programs may sound intimidating, but really they're a win-win for everyone. Nonprofits get the support they need from companies with resources to spare, and companies get to promote themselves as supporters of worthwhile causes.

Want to get in on corporate philanthropy, but not sure how?

Here are three simple ways to integrate corporate philanthropy into the fundraising you already do:

  1. Enhance your online donation page with a matching-gift option.
  2. Boost your crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising revenue with fundraising matches.
  3. Supercharge your fundraising events with corporate sponsorships.

Ready to take your fundraising to the next level with corporate philanthropy? Let's get started!

1. Enhance your online donation page with a matching-gift option. Widespread in the world of corporate philanthropy, matching-gift programs encourage employee donations to nonprofits of their choice by matching those donations.

Every matching-gift program works a little differently, however, so contact the company's corporate philanthropy or HR department for information about:

  • Match ratio: Most companies match on a dollar-to-dollar basis, but some will only match 50 percent of a donation, while others will double or even triple the amount donated by an employee.
  • Minimum and maximum match: Companies often set parameters for how much of a gift they will match, with the minimum typically around $25 and the maximum anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Eligibility: Many companies will only match full-time employees' donations, while others will match the donations of retired employees and/or employee spouses.

Nonprofits are always looking for ways to increase their online giving revenue, and matching gifts are a Web-friendly way to do so. How can you incorporate a matching-gift option into your online donation page that works?The trick is to make the process seamless for donors who are already engaged in the donation process.

For a good example, check out Mercy Corps' matching gift-optimized donation page. If you want your donation page to be as effective as Mercy Corps' in capturing matching gifts, be sure to define the matching-gift option in easy-to-understand terms and include a matching gift database plug-in.

2. Boost your crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising revenue with fundraising matches. Similar to matching gifts but applicable to a wider range of charitable giving, fundraising matches are programs in which companies match their employees' volunteer efforts or cash donations to the nonprofits of their choice — typically, through employee participation in a charity walk, run, or ride.

Although every company's fundraising match program is different, such programs usually offer a one-to-one match for funds raised or sponsorships won by an employee participating in a fundraising event.

To get started, make sure you know the difference between crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. In the case of the former, a nonprofit hosts a single main crowdfunding page on its website that current and new supporters  can use to support the event, while in the peer-to-peer model, individual supporters create their own fundraising pages to collect donations from people in their own social networks.

One popular way to incorporate fundraising matches into a walk, run, or ride event is to ask event participants to raise a certain amount of money to “earn” their place on the starting line. Not only does that incentivize participants, it also means your donors only have to raise half the entry amount from their own social networks.

If you're thinking the fundraising match model might work for your organization, check out Fundly's list of the best crowdfunding websites for the platform that's right for you.

3. Supercharge your fundraising events with corporate sponsorships. Corporate sponsorships can take many forms. You may be familiar with the traditional sponsorship, in which a company contributes money to a nonprofit's fundraising campaign in exchange for their logo and name on the campaign's marketing materials.

But companies can also sponsor events in other ways — notably, with in-kind donations. In-kind donations are non-monetary donations like a physical space, food, employee assistance, and so on. Think of these as a way for a company without spare financial resources to support your campaign in other ways.

Charity walks, runs, and rides aren't the only kind of event that can benefit from corporate philanthropy, especially a sponsorship. How can you incorporate in-kind donations into your next fundraising event?

Here are some other examples:

  • Charity auction: You'll need a venue, auction items, and software to handle mobile bidding and registration — all of which can be donated by a company or companies in your area.
  • Charity gala: Again, you'll need a venue, staff, and food and drink — all of which can be donated.
  • Group volunteering: Same here: transportation, food, volunteers.

The benefit of a corporate sponsorship for your fundraising event isn't just the cost savings involved. In-kind sponsorship can be, and often are, the start of a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between you and your sponsor(s).

Think about it: after a company makes an in-kind donation to your event, you'll send them a thank-you note and whatever other benefits agreed to as part of the sponsorship agreement. Then, the next time you hold an event or launch a big fundraising campaign, your solicitation of that sponsor (or sponsors) won't get lost among all the other solicitations they receive from nonprofits in your area.

With these three corporate giving strategies, you can make your fundraising smarter, saving money on event venues and capture matching gifts online. But even more important than these short-term benefits is the lasting advantage of an established relationship with a company (or companies) willing to support your organization. These partnerships pay off when you take on a huge capital campaign or organize the largest fundraising event you've ever hosted. Keep that long-term goal in mind as you organize your corporate outreach.

Adam Weinger is president of Double the Donation, a provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.