When it comes to donations, there are never too many ways your nonprofit can receive funds. One often overlooked way of collecting funds is through corporate giving programs.
Corporate giving programs are created by for-profit organizations in an effort to give back to their communities, and they offer a wealth of opportunities to nonprofits.
The key to reaping the benefits of these corporate philanthropy programs is having an effective strategy that makes the most of your donors’ contributions.
That’s why we’ve created a list of five best practices that every nonprofit can use to bring in more funds through corporate giving programs.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Let donors know about corporate giving opportunities.
- Make corporate giving information easy to access.
- Use a CRM tool to manage your matching gifts.
- Encourage donors to volunteer.
- Say “thank you” and follow up with donors.
Before jumping into our tips, brush up on the many types of corporate giving programs with Double the Donation’s full list.
Now, let’s get started with our first tip: making donors more aware of corporate giving programs.
1. Let donors know about corporate giving opportunities.
One of the biggest reasons why nonprofits aren’t making the most of corporate philanthropy is because they aren’t aware that these programs exist.
Building awareness should be the first step in your nonprofit’s corporate giving strategy. Think about it: from matching gifts to dollars for doers to team volunteer grants, many of these opportunities require donors to take action in order for the funds to be awarded to your organization.
When donors know what programs exist (and which ones require their action to complete), they’re much more likely to complete the necessary steps.
After all, most donors would jump at any opportunity to give more support to their favorite nonprofits, especially if they don’t have to dip back into their wallets.
Nonprofits have several ways that they can promote corporate giving, but some of the most effective methods include:
- Email. Mention corporate giving programs in your acknowledgment letters and your nonprofit’s e-newsletter. Additionally, when you ask donors to contribute to your online fundraising campaign, let them know that their contributions could be match-eligible.
- On your website. You can include information about matching gifts and volunteer grants on your “Ways to Give” page. Mentioning corporate giving in prominent places like on the homepage and on donation forms is also an effective way to promote these programs to donors.
- Social media. You’re likely already using social media to promote your fundraising campaigns, events, and volunteer opportunities. You should also consider marketing corporate giving programs, explaining to donors how easy it is to give even more support to your mission.
The best way to spread the word about corporate giving is to reach out to your donors using the channels they frequent most.
Whether it’s through email, social media, or on your website, the most important part is to let donors know how easy the process is and where they can learn more information (which we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section).
2. Make corporate giving information easy to access.
Since matching gifts and volunteer grants fall under the donor’s responsibility to complete, the best way to encourage supporters to follow through with the process is by making it as easy as possible.
By providing them with all the necessary information at the most opportune time, you keep the process front of mind and show donors that it only takes a couple of steps to complete.
First, your nonprofit can include a matching gift search tool on your donation pages. A matching gift search tool allows donors to search for their employer and get details on the corporate giving programs available at their company.
The information provided often includes:
- What corporate giving programs are offered by the company.
- Minimum and maximum donations or hours that qualify.
- Information on how to submit a matching gift or volunteer grant request.
Having this tool on your donation pages as donors contribute allows them to see if (1) their company offers a matching gift program and (2) how much they have to give to be eligible for a matching gift.
That way, the donor knows right away if their gift is eligible and what action they need to take to submit a request. Ideally, donors can complete the process right after contributing!
Second, you can create a list of top companies and their corporate giving information. If your organization doesn’t want to use a search tool or wants to provide even more information to your donors, you can offer information about the companies where the majority of your donors work.
You may have to conduct some research to determine where most of your supporters work, but knowing this bit of information will be worth the effort.
Not only will it help you determine which companies to cover on your list, but it also allows you to send targeted messages about a donor’s specific matching gift or volunteer grant program.
Finally, you should provide donors with the steps they need to take to complete a request. Include this information on your “Ways to Give” page or create a dedicated page for corporate giving.
Let donors know where they should submit a request and tailor your step-by-step process to match the programs at the companies where the majority of your donors work.
3. Use a CRM tool to manage your matching gifts.
By far, one of the most popular types of corporate giving programs is matching gifts — and with good reason. Matching gifts have the potential to bring in double (if not triple!) the funds, and the process is easy for donors to complete.
One of the biggest mistakes that a nonprofit can make is not having a system to track the eligibility of donations or the status of matching gift requests.
With a system in place, your team will be able to focus on donations with the most matching gift potential so that you can secure the most funds for your cause.
Smaller organizations may be able to create a system using their existing fundraising software, but larger organizations will likely need a dedicated system (like 360MatchPro) to track their matching gift data.
A matching gift CRM tool can help larger organizations with:
- Identifying a donor’s employee through email domains. If a donor contributes using their work email, the system will determine if the donation is matching gift-eligible based on the company’s program guidelines.
- Tracking matching gift status. From a submitted application all the way to completion, your team can update the status of any donation to stay on top of the process.
- Pinpointing donations with the most matching gift potential. A matching gift CRM tool should be able to filter the largest donations or gifts made by donors that work for a company with a high matching gift ratio so that your team can focus on securing those funds first.
- Sending targeted emails asking donors if they completed a matching gift request. Your CRM will be able to send automated emails to donors asking them if they submitted a matching gift request. Depending on how the donor responds, the status of the donation will be updated in your system.
With these capabilities, your organization will be able to better predict how much money you’ll raise through matching gifts and have an accurate status of matching gift requests.
4. Encourage donors to volunteer.
Did you know that corporate giving programs can help you retain donors? It’s true! With programs like team volunteer grants and dollars for doers, companies encourage their employees to volunteer at their favorite organizations.
And when donors volunteer, they see a different side of your organization, allowing them to build stronger connections to your cause.
Not to mention, your nonprofit will receive help from supporters while also gaining monetary gifts from the companies that your volunteers work at.
In addition to promoting volunteer grants like we mentioned in previous sections, your organization can also work with local businesses that offer volunteer-based corporate giving programs.
Aside from just helping out at fundraising events, you can ask companies to encourage employees to volunteer their skills to help you further your cause. For example, if you partner with a local advertising agency, some of the employees could volunteer to help promote your capital campaign.
Encouraging corporate donors to volunteer is one part of receiving more volunteer grants. It’s also important for volunteers to know how many hours they need to qualify for a grant.
It’s likely that your organization is already keeping detailed records of who volunteers at your nonprofit and for how long. Use that information to your advantage!
Send out emails to volunteers when they’ve reached the minimum requirement to request at volunteer grant at their company. This reminder is a great opportunity to ask volunteers to submit a request, and it shows them that all their hard work can help your nonprofit even more.
5. Say “thank you” and follow up with donors.
As a nonprofit professional, you’re well aware of the advantages of showing donors your appreciation when they donate to or volunteer for your cause. The same is true for supporters that participate in corporate giving programs.
For example, when a donor submits a matching gift request, it’s important for your nonprofit to send them a thank you letter. Sending an acknowledgement letter lets donors know that you see they’ve made a request and appreciate the effort they made to help support your organization.
When donors see that your organization is grateful for their help, they’re more likely to submit another matching gift request or donate their time in the hopes of gaining a volunteer grant for your nonprofit.
Another crucial part of showing your appreciation is keeping them informed about the status of their request.
When you receive funds from their company, send donors another email notifying them. Also, if you know how the funds will be used, include that piece of information in your email to show donors how much of an impact corporate giving has on your nonprofit.
Often, the process of collecting funds through corporate giving can take several weeks if not months. Therefore, the fact that they submitted a request might slip your donors’ minds. By sending them an update, they’re able to see the fruits of their labor and relive the benefits all over again.
Ultimately, offering your appreciation is a great incentive to encourage donors to continue participating in corporate giving programs, and it shows them that you value all the effort they make to support your cause.
Whether you decide to implement one or all five of these best practices, your organization can improve its corporate giving strategy. All you have to do is get started!