Schools and nonprofits alike generally rely on donor support to fund their programs and operations. And those donors can consist of individuals, corporations, and more. But as the corporate giving landscape continues to expand, this form of support has the potential to bring your fundraising strategy to new heights. And the benefits to the fundraising organization—i.e., your education institution or other charitable cause—are expansive and plentiful.
In this post, we’ll walk through some main advantages of corporate giving and the impact it can have on organizations like yours:
- Providing financial support
- Supplying in-kind donations
- Diversifying revenue streams
- Expanding reach and visibility
- Elevating gift conversion rates
- Increasing individual donation sizes
- Driving and enhancing volunteerism
- Growing engagement and retention
Smart corporate fundraising strategies empower organizations to foster favorable relationships with the businesses in and around the communities they serve.
1. Provide financial support
According to corporate giving statistics from Double the Donation, companies donate an average of $20 to $26 billion to fundraising organizations each year. And the total continues to grow!
That’s a significant chunk of revenue provided to schools and nonprofits, and it can go a long way in funding these groups’ programs and initiatives.
Financial support can be gifted in a number of ways, too. These include:
- Matching employee gifts—Companies match financial donations their employees make to qualifying nonprofits and schools
- Dollars for Doers—Also known as volunteer grants, companies provide funds to the nonprofits and schools to which their employees donate their time
- Event sponsorships—Companies contribute funds toward a specific event (such as a run/walk/ride, gala, or auction), generally in exchange for marketing and publicity
- Cause marketing campaigns—Companies promote a partnership with a school or nonprofit and donate a portion of sales or profits to the organization in question
- Corporate grant programs—Companies award funds to schools or nonprofits, often for a specific project or program, following a dedicated application and review process
- General donations—Companies gift funds directly to schools or nonprofits to support the institutions’ overall operations
Not sure where to get started? One of your team’s most invaluable resources likely lies in your donor employment information. This allows you to uncover workplace giving opportunities (like matching gifts and volunteer grants), identify connections to businesses in your network, and secure a foothold with prospective companies.
Take the time to locate or update your individual supporters’ employment records (we recommend asking for a company name in your online giving forms!). Then, see if your donors’ companies have giving programs from which your institution can benefit.
2. Supply in-kind donations
In-kind donations involve any type of non-monetary gift contributed to a nonprofit or school, and it’s a popular way for companies to provide their support. These kinds of gifts can include a wide range of goods and services that benefit the organization and its cause in tangible ways—example in-kind donations include:
- Technology (e.g., computers, phones, tablets, or software)
- Furniture (chairs, tables, desks, etc.)
- Office supplies
- Sports and athletic equipment
- Food supplies or services
- Free or discounted event space rentals
- Pro bono legal aid
- No-cost marketing expertise
- Tax, accounting, or other financial services
While not a donation of direct funds, in-kind gifts allow organizations to reduce their operational costs, thus allowing more resources to be reallocated toward their core missions. Thus, it’s an essential form of fundraising in which companies are often eager to participate, as it’s easy and affordable for them, too!
3. Diversify revenue streams with corporate giving
Your organization likely receives funding from a number of different avenues. First and foremost, you don’t want to find your team relying too heavily on a single revenue stream. That can leave your school increasingly susceptible to changes in the fundraising landscape.
By expanding into alternative fundraising channels, you can establish a well-rounded revenue composition, ensuring the sustainability of your efforts over time. And, fortunately, a carefully devised corporate giving plan enables organizations to diversify incoming funds from a broader spectrum of individuals, businesses, and more. Just consider the numerous types of corporate giving programs (such as those covered above) that can be seamlessly integrated into your overall strategy!
4. Expand reach and visibility
When companies engage in charitable giving, they naturally seek to gain recognition for doing so. After all, this allows them to amplify their corporate social responsibility (or CSR), boost employee engagement, and enhance their overall brand image.
But the public promotion of a corporation’s philanthropic efforts doesn’t just benefit the company’s bottom line. It can also become a valuable asset for your organization or school! As businesses showcase their commitment to social causes, your mission—and your organization’s efforts in pursuing your mission—gains exposure and visibility as well.
This provides an excellent way to reach potential new supporters who may not have otherwise been aware of your organization and invite them to get involved.
5. Elevate gift conversion rates with corporate giving
Did you know the availability of a corporate match can significantly heighten your donation conversion rates? Supporters want to give when they feel their dollars will make a real difference, and the opportunity to multiply their contributions can do exactly that.
In fact, the aforementioned Double the Donation study reports that 84% of donors are more likely to give if a match is being offered. And the same research indicates that mentioning matching gifts in your fundraising appeals produces over 71% growth in donation response rate.
Essentially, corporate philanthropy initiatives (including employee giving incentives like donation-matching) can transform your fundraising strategy on an individual level, too! When supporters know their employers will amplify their own contributions, they’re encouraged to get further involved and take advantage of the opportunities in front of them.
6. Increase individual donation sizes
Not only are individual donors more likely to give when a match is available, but they’re also more likely to give in larger amounts. Double the Donation’s study of corporate giving programs reports that 1 in 3 donors would contribute a larger donation if a match were to be applied. The result: an estimated 51% increase in average gift size.
Ultimately, knowing that a gift will be doubled can be an excellent motivator to increase its initial size. The bigger the donation, the bigger the match!
Plus, many companies institute minimum matchable donation amounts that an employee must reach in order to qualify for a corporate match. In this case, a desire to reach the qualifying threshold can play a role in the heightened donation amounts, too.
7. Drive and enhance volunteerism
Corporate volunteerism is a significant component of many companies’ philanthropic efforts. A business encourages its workforce to support causes in their communities while fostering a sense of camaraderie and team-building when employees engage together outside of a traditional office setting.
As for your team, it provides you with groups of volunteers who can make a tangible and hands-on impact on your mission. This can occur in a few key ways:
- Group volunteer events (virtual or in-person)
- Paid volunteer time off (or VTO, above and beyond any existing paid time off)
- Volunteer grants (individuals or teams donate their time and request funds from their employers based on the number of hours with your organization)
Not to mention, an individual or a group introduced to your organization through a corporate giving program may choose to become a long-term, dedicated supporter, returning consistently over time to continue aiding in your efforts.
8. Grow engagement and retention
Corporate philanthropy programs create opportunities to engage with donors in meaningful ways. Workplace giving initiatives such as matching gifts play a pivotal role in fostering supporter engagement, stewardship, and retention as they drive individuals further down the pipeline.
Beyond the initial contribution, these programs provide donors, volunteers and other supporters with unique avenues to stay actively involved with the causes they care about—without requiring additional gifts. And strategic post-donation follow-ups encouraging them to do so further solidifies this engagement.
Ultimately, the availability of corporate philanthropy not only fosters a deeper connection to your school or organization but also increases the likelihood of continued generosity and future participation in giving programs.
Next steps to unlock corporate giving potential
By embracing corporate giving, organizations like yours can secure the resources needed to power their behind-the-scenes and mission-driven activities. Not only that but establish and grow supporter relationships with individual and corporate entities alike.
As you get started, be sure to prepare your team with the insights you need to guide your philanthropy efforts. The best place to begin is with your donors’ employment information! Gather updated data regarding the companies your supporters work for to uncover workplace giving opportunities, inform your tailored outreach strategy, and identify the best prospects for corporate partnerships.