Nonprofits are always looking for new sources of funding. From donations to in-kind giving, individual supporters do a great job to help nonprofits stay up and running around the world.
However, the other player that’s too often missing from our analysis of nonprofit funding sources is corporations. A lot of corporations offer programs to help give back to the community by investing in nonprofit organizations. This is referred to as “corporate philanthropy.”
What is corporate philanthropy?
Corporate philanthropy is the act of a corporation contributing to nonprofit organizations through donations, volunteering, sponsorships, in-kind donations, and more in order to the organizations’ missions.
The problem is that not enough nonprofits know how to take advantage of corporate philanthropy opportunities. That’s why we’ve created this guide: to help organizations learn about corporate philanthropy so they know where to look in order to make the most of it.
In this guide we’ll cover:
- The different types of corporate philanthropy.
- Why corporate philanthropy is important.
- How to market corporate giving opportunities.
- Example companies with corporate philanthropy programs.
- Where to find more information about corporate philanthropy.
Read along with us or use the navigation above to jump to the section that most interests you.
After reading through this guide, your nonprofit will be ready to leverage corporate giving to its fullest extent. Ready to learn? Let’s get started!
1. What are the different types of corporate philanthropy?
In total, there are probably hundreds of ways corporations could give back to nonprofit organizations. However, the most common types of corporate philanthropy are matching gifts and volunteer grants.
Companies with matching gift programs will contribute a donation to “match” that of an employee to an eligible nonprofit. They’ll make this contribution at a 1:1, 2:1, and sometimes even 3:1 ratio!
This is the most common form of corporate giving and can be used to maximize the impact of each donation your nonprofit receives. After all, if eligible donors don’t request a matched gift, it’s essentially leaving free money on the table.
This concept may sound familiar to you if you’ve spent a lot of time on our blog. You can explore our complete guide to matching gifts to learn more about these handy corporate philanthropy opportunities.
Volunteer grants are another common type of corporate philanthropy. While matched gifts are contributed by corporations when an employee gives to a nonprofit, volunteer grants are contributed when an employee volunteers for a nonprofit.
Corporate philanthropy programs will outline the parameters of how many hours employees need to volunteer in order to become eligible for these grants. For instance, a corporation might offer to donate $100 per 20 hours an employee volunteers to an eligible nonprofit.
These grants encourage employees to volunteer more frequently at eligible nonprofit organizations.
Other Types of Corporate Philanthropy
While matching gifts and volunteer grants are the two most common forms of corporate giving, there are some other types to also keep an eye out for. These other types of corporate philanthropy include:
- Employee Grant Stipends. Grant stipends are a set amount of money that corporations set aside for each of their employees. It’s the employee’s decision where the stipend will be donated.
- Community Grants. Corporations offer grants that go towards disaster relief to help communities during times of crisis. Usually, communities must be in the same geographical area as the company to qualify for such grants.
- Corporate Sponsorships. Companies will frequently provide support via sponsorships to help support an organization’s mission. Sponsorships benefit both the sponsor and the nonprofit through marketing and financial support respectively.
- In-Kind Donations. Companies offer gifts of services or items in order to help nonprofits fill a need. For instance, a company may provide an in-kind donation of accounting services to a nonprofit in order to help them reconcile their accounts or file tax forms.
All types of corporate philanthropy are used to help nonprofit and other charity organizations succeed in their missions. Plus, they provide a great image for the company as a community-minded, socially-conscious entity.
2. Why are corporate giving programs important?
Corporate philanthropy programs are important for all parties: both nonprofits and corporations. Some of these benefits are as follows:
Benefits for Nonprofits
For nonprofits, the benefits of corporate giving are fairly self-explanatory: it provides more funding for the organization. But how much funding can it really bring? Double the Donation’s statistics page offers a few additional insights:
- 84% of donors say they’re more likely to donate if they know their company will match their gift.
- One-third of donors will provide a larger gift to nonprofits if they know it will be matched by their employer.
- More than 18 million people are eligible for matched gifts via corporate philanthropy programs.
- 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching gift programs for their employees.
- 12% of corporate contributions to nonprofits are made through their matching gift programs.
The additional funding doesn’t only come from the corporation’s supplemental to the nonprofit, but also from the fact that donors are more likely to give if they know their gift will make a bigger impact due to a corporate philanthropy program.
Benefits for Corporations
Not only does corporate philanthropy help nonprofits succeed in their missions, but it also helps companies that offer programs. For example, when employees take advantage of corporate giving opportunities, the company sees advantages such as:
- A positive image. When corporations partner with nonprofits, the community recognizes the positive change they’re working to make in the world. With this recognition, the company creates a more positive reputation for itself.
- Better relationships with customers. Customers appreciate it when a company works hard to support their community. Customers will approach their relationship with a better attitude when they understand the benefits of the corporate philanthropy program.
- Better engagement from employees. Employees engage with each other more when they participate in philanthropy opportunities together. More engaged employees tend to outperform those who aren’t engaged by a landslide.
- Encouraging a feeling of community. Employees who work together to help a nonprofit achieve its mission will create a feeling of comradery at the office. This will lead to a more communal working environment for the corporation.
Unfortunately, not all corporate philanthropy programs are being taken advantage of by the employees, meaning neither party sees these incredible advantages.
Generally, this occurs because employees simply don’t know about the opportunities they have to make their contributions go further. That’s why it’s important for nonprofits to market these opportunities and draw attention to them, as we’ll discuss more in the next section.
3. How do you market corporate giving?
Marketing corporate giving generally falls on the nonprofits themselves. While one might think it’s the corporation’s job to market these opportunities to their employees, corporations may not have the drive to do so.
While companies do see benefits from implementing a corporate philanthropy program, it’s generally an indirect benefit. For instance, the corporate giving program encourages more philanthropic action, which leads to more comradery and more productive employees.
Meanwhile, nonprofits see the direct benefit of larger donations that go further toward impacting their missions. This direct benefit generally leads to the responsibility of marketing to fall on the nonprofit instead of the corporation with the program.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways nonprofits can promote corporate giving opportunities for their supporters. For example:
- Highlight opportunities on your nonprofit’s donation page. Try incorporating a matching gift database directly on your nonprofit’s donation page so that your donors can check their eligibility for corporate matches during the giving process.
- Create a dedicated corporate giving page. Create a page on your website that outlines the different potential corporate philanthropy opportunities. Direct your supporters to these pages so they can educate themselves too.
- Create an email series highlighting corporate giving opportunities. Craft emails to send out to supporters informing them about corporate giving opportunities. Link to your corporate giving page or donation page to make it easy to access more information.
- Post about corporate philanthropy programs on social media. Support your email series with posts on social media about corporate giving. This is another platform where people can encounter your educational content about the programs.
- Send recognition letters for those who took advantage of programs. When a supporter does take advantage of a corporate giving program, and your nonprofit receives the additional corporate donation, make sure to thank the supporter. Thanking them for taking the time to submit the request to their company helps reinforce the idea that it was worth their time.
Ensuring your supporters know about corporate giving opportunities is key to securing these additional donations and opportunities. Therefore, marketing is essential. Any (or all) of these ideas can help spread the word about corporate giving!
4. What companies offer corporate philanthropy programs?
There are a surprising number of corporate philanthropy programs out there and a surprising number of them go unused. In fact, in matching gift revenue, $4 to $7 billion goes unclaimed every year!
So it’s always worth asking donors to check and see if their companies offer corporate philanthropy programs. Some of the major companies that offer corporate giving opportunities are:
|Company||Match Ratio||Minimum Match||Maximum Match|
Of course, there are tons of other companies that also offer these types of programs. And you never know who might sponsor your nonprofit!
It’s always worth checking a matching gift database or asking a company to sponsor your organization. You never know what you might find.
5. Where can I find more information about corporate giving?
Luckily, there are plenty of additional resources your nonprofit can use to learn more about corporate philanthropy. Plenty of providers in the nonprofit space know the benefits of corporate giving and want to encourage organizations to take advantage of it.
Here are some of the additional articles that we’ve written here at re:Charity:
- The Top Matching Gift Companies. Here’s a list of our favorite matching gift companies. Plus, we’ve included the parameters around the available programs.
- Matching Gifts: A Q&A Guide for Nonprofits. If you have specific questions about matching gifts, our Q&A guide likely has the answers you need.
- What is the Best Matching Gift Database? We’ve analyzed the top matching gift database options in the industry and reviewed each to to find the best one for nonprofits.
But if you don’t take our word for it, we’ve also compiled some additional information from other trusted providers in the nonprofit sphere. Check it out:
- Another Corporate Philanthropy Guide by Double the Donation. If you still have questions about what corporate philanthropy is or just want to hear it from a second source, check out Double the Donation’s article.
- The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Sponsorships by OneCause. Learn more about the details of corporate philanthropy specifically related to sponsorships with this comprehensive guide by OneCause.
- Corporate Social Responsibility Guide by Double the Donation. Corporate philanthropy is tied directly to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Double the Donation explains how with this definitive guide.
Between these six resources, you’ll be an expert in corporate giving in no time!