5 Ways Nonprofits can Access Corporate Philanthropy

Nonprofit Management

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Most nonprofits know about corporate sponsorship, but have you tried matching gifts and volunteer grants? Has a business ever donated goods or services to your nonprofit? What about a business donating to a cause or capital campaign? If you haven’t explored corporate philanthropy options, chances are you’re leaving money on the table. Corporate philanthropy programs are a great way for nonprofits to raise crucial funds. Plus, there are often non-monetary benefits that add additional incentive to embrace a business’s social responsibility program. Read on to learn how to get started with corporate philanthropy in 5 easy steps.

1. Tell donors about matching gifts and volunteer grants

The first step is the simplest. Reach out to your supporters and share resources about matching gifts and volunteer grants. Ask them to inquire about the availability of these programs with their employer. Many individuals have the capability to apply for a matching gift or turn their volunteer hours into a monetary donation and don’t even know it! It’s up to you to get them taking advantage of their employer’s corporate giving program.

You can even increase the impact of matching gifts by asking your supporters to give on a recurring basis. This process becomes even easier if donating via payroll deduction. The nonprofit receives the donor’s gift on a consistent basis as well as a regular corporate match!

Many employers also offer volunteer grants. Volunteer grants reward employees for volunteering for charitable causes. By logging their hours to their employer, volunteers can turn the volunteer hours they’ve worked into a monetary donation. They can then choose a nonprofit to support with that gift. As your new volunteers go through the orientation process, be sure to talk about volunteer grants! Revisit the topic during any refresher trainings, too.

2. Seek corporate sponsorships and in-kind donations

This next step requires reaching out to businesses directly. If you have any donors, volunteers, or board members connected with local businesses, they can help by making introductions. Set a meeting time and prepare a sponsorship pitch with prices and benefits for the company.

Sponsorships aren’t just for events! In addition to events, you can ask companies to sponsor a program or the general operations of your organization. Here’s a handy article on how to secure corporate sponsorship. It goes into detail about setting up the meeting, what to include in your sponsorship pitch, and tips on how to keep the sponsors coming back year after year!

In-kind gifts also require a direct ask to local businesses. Typically, in-kind gifts are donations of goods or services. For example, if you ask a local business to donate an item for your auction event, the resulting item is an in-kind gift. A plumber volunteering to fix a leaky pipe at your office for free is another kind of in-kind gift. You can use donated gifts and services in a variety of ways to either raise crucial funds or save money.

Download the Corporate Sponsorship Cheat Sheet and templates and get ready to  reach out to local businesses and major corporations alike with confidence!

3. Establish a corporate partnership program

If you’ve developed a recurring relationship with corporate sponsors over the years, consider establishing a corporate partnership program. A corporate partnership program further connects your nonprofit with the businesses that support you. Offer them flexible sponsorship methods and increased benefits for being part of the program. These additional benefits can include signage at fundraising events and/or at your facility, appreciation events, and more.

Ask your corporate partners to advocate for your nonprofit when appropriate. This is especially helpful if some of your corporate partners work within the same industry as your organization. For instance, if you’re a nonprofit who provides in-home elder care services, partner with local nursing home facilities, hospices, and even the business you purchase medical supplies from. Connecting with businesses you share a customer base with can make advocating for those you serve easier. Therefore, you receive more than monetary support through this program. You gain powerful allies who can advocate for those you serve.

4. Sign up for corporate philanthropy programs

Have you heard of the AmazonSmile program? When a nonprofit organization registers for AmazonSmile, they receive a special link to send to their supporters. When your supporters shop on Amazon through your nonprofit’s specialized link, a portion of their purchase is donated to your nonprofit. It’s an easy way for your donors to support you without costing them anything other than what they’d already intended to spend. You can make the AmazonSmile program work exceptionally well during the holiday season. Include your AmazonSmile link in your end-of-year appeals to ask donors to give and turn their holiday shopping into an additional donation!

If your nonprofit hasn’t signed up for Facebook Fundraisers yet, now is the time. While your nonprofit doesn’t earn funds from Facebook directly, the social media platform offers a social media fundraising program that makes it easy for both your nonprofit and your donors to raise money for your organization directly on the social media platform.

Be sure to research corporate philanthropy programs available in your area. Some large companies offer grants and other support specifically to nonprofits in the areas they operate in. Other businesses offer support to nonprofits who use their services or buy supplies from them. Do your research and make sure you’re not missing out on a way to raise additional funds for your cause.

5. Ask to be the beneficiary of corporate fundraising

Many businesses choose a charity and host a fundraiser to support that nonprofit. When I worked for a nonprofit hospice organization, a local Wells Fargo Branch hosted an annual employee golf tournament to raise funds on the hospice’s behalf. This DIY fundraiser was a lot of fun for Wells Fargo’s employees, the nonprofit didn’t have any expenses related to the event, and the fundraiser provided significant funds that went to caring for hospice patients and their families. Everybody wins with an event like this!

How do you become the beneficiary of a corporate fundraising event? Ask the businesses you’re connected with–especially if they host an annual charity event to support a local nonprofit organization. There are many nonprofits who want to benefit from these types of events. Be sure you’re able to present a strong case when pitching for support.

Want to learn how to host cost-effective peer-to-peer fundraisers? Download the  DIY and Network Fundraising Toolkit to get started!


Corporate philanthropy is on the rise. Make sure you’re benefiting from their generosity by embracing corporate giving. Encourage your supporters to seek matching gifts and volunteer grants from their employers. Make connections with businesses and ask them to sponsor your organization, events, and programs. Sign up for corporate philanthropy programs, too. There are a ton of opportunities to find additional funds with corporate philanthropy, so be sure to incorporate corporate giving into your fundraising strategy

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