Nonprofits are always looking for new sources of funding. From monetary 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 businesses 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, volunteerism, sponsorships, in-kind donations, and more in order to help advance the organizations’ missions.
The problem is that not enough nonprofits know how to take advantage of corporate philanthropy. 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.
After reading through this resource, your nonprofit will be ready to leverage corporate giving to its fullest extent. 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, here are a few of the most common types of corporate philanthropy to consider.
Companies with matching gift programs contribute a donation to “match” that of an employee to an eligible nonprofit. They’ll typically 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. 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 donated by corporations when an employee gives to a nonprofit, volunteer grants are contributed when an employee volunteers for a nonprofit.
Corporate philanthropy programs 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.
- Disaster Relief. Corporations often offer grants for 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 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 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 and 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 nonprofits and corporations alike. 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 matching gift programs.
The additional funding doesn’t only come from the corporation’s supplement to the nonprofit. Further, 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 the companies that offer these programs. 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. Consumers 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 philanthropic 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 camaraderie 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 don’t know about the opportunities they have to make their contributions go further. That’s why it’s important 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 promote these opportunities to their employees, corporations may not have the drive to do so on their own.
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 camaraderie and more productive employees.
Meanwhile, nonprofits see the direct benefit of larger donations that go further toward impacting their missions. This direct benefit generally causes 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, an organization can encourage their supporters to leverage corporate philanthropy in the following ways:
- 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 educational posts on social media about corporate giving.
- 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. Acknowledging 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!
Boosting Participation from the Company Side
While marketing does tend to fall onto the shoulders of nonprofits, there are many ways companies can make it easier for their employees to participate in their corporate giving programs. After all, increasing accessibility and awareness of their corporate philanthropy efforts will benefit nonprofits in the long run, and there are added benefits for companies whose employees take part.
Specifically, corporate giving software designed for corporations can help them streamline their giving, matching, and volunteering processes, in addition to other programs.
By investing in the right workplace giving solutions, companies can:
- Automatically review and/or approve matching gift requests based on company guidelines.
- Allow employees to log their volunteer hours and request volunteer grants.
- Discover and share new volunteer opportunities in their community.
- Set up other employee giving programs, like payroll deductions.
- View their overall impact through robust reporting tools.
Workplace giving tools help companies manage everything about their corporate giving initiatives from a central location. This provides employees with an intuitive interface they can use to log their volunteer hours, request matches, and more. While nonprofits may be doing much of the legwork, companies that invest in the right corporate giving software can make the nonprofit’s job a lot easier.
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 $4 to $7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed every year!
It’s always worth asking donors to check and see if their companies offer corporate philanthropy programs. Here’s an overview of some of the major companies that offer corporate giving opportunities:
|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 reaching out for potential sponsorships. 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. Tons 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 find the best one for nonprofits (hint: it’s Double the Donation).
But don’t take our word for it! We’ve also compiled 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.