Your Ultimate Guide to Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

Corporate nonprofit partnerships are a win-win! While corporations benefit from improved customer perception and brand value, nonprofits receive the sponsorships and exposure they can use to further their mission. This ultimate guide on nonprofit-corporate relationships will help you get insights into different models, successful examples, tools that can help, and more.

6 minutes read
Your Ultimate Guide to Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

nonprofit partnerships

There are a lot of legendary partnerships out there. Peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, and…corporations and nonprofits?

That’s right! Corporate-nonprofit partnerships are fantastic ways for both corporations and nonprofits to grow – and do some good along the way. In this article, we’ll look at the ins and outs of these legendary partnerships.

Let’s start with the basics as we figure out why corporate partnerships for nonprofits are so popular and successful.

What is a Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership?

Corporate-nonprofit partnerships are relationships between nonprofits and for-profit companies where both entities offer resources toward a common goal. Often these relationships are ongoing because they are mutually beneficial.

It’s important that both entities align in goals and values and that they trust each other to reach their shared goal.

Looking for a corporate partnership? Watch our webinar to learn 3 steps to getting corporate partnerships for your nonprofit.

Get Started with Donorbox!

How Corporate Partnerships Benefit Nonprofits

The right corporate partnership can be wildly beneficial for nonprofits of any size. Here are some ways nonprofits benefit from ongoing partnerships with companies.

1. Donations

Connecting with a corporation can bring in significant contributions to your organization either from the company itself or from its employees.

Corporate giving can come in the form of sponsorship, fundraising event attendance, grants, in-kind donations of goods or services, and more.

For example, see how Falcon Foundation leverages corporate partnerships with its Annual Business Partner campaign on Donorbox via this efficient donation form. They raised over $460,000 last year!

corporate partnership campaign example

Start an Online Corporate-Partnership Campaign!

How Donorbox helps

The above example has given you an idea of how organizations are utilizing customizable Donorbox donation forms and donation pages to run their corporate partnership programs. But that is not all – Donorbox has more to offer.

On a Donorbox donation form, you can allow donors to select when their donation is on behalf of a company. You can also request their employer and occupation information.

This helps you understand if your existing partnership has led to any new donations from the company. If it is a random donation from someone who happens to be associated with a company you’re interested in, it will be even better to have this information stored in your database so that you may use them as a contact at that company later on. Here’s what that looks like for your donors –

checking if donation is on behalf of a company on donation form

You can also manually add a note to the donor profile after you’ve reached out to them to learn more about their interest in your nonprofit. This helps keep you and your team in the loop!

adding communication notes to donor profiles on donorbox

Sign Up for Donorbox!

These tools make the complicated process of growing a corporate-nonprofit partnership much simpler – and much more likely to succeed!

2. Volunteers

Partnering with a corporation can sometimes mean steady volunteers for your organization. Many large corporations have corporate responsibility offices in charge of arranging fun and meaningful volunteer opportunities for their employees.

3. Exposure

Large corporations have large platforms and audiences. When you partner with them, they share your organization with those platforms. This means more exposure for your work and more donations to your important cause.

4. More opportunities

One corporate partnership can often lead to more and better opportunities. Once your organization is seen as desirable for corporations, you can broaden your network and connect with more potential partners.

5. Board members

Sometimes companies engaged in a corporate partnership with a nonprofit will put forward employees to join the board. This helps strengthen the partnership and provide more benefits to the nonprofit, as new board members bring new connections, ideas, and energy to the board.

Understanding Why Corporations Want to Partner With Nonprofits

Now we know how nonprofits benefit from corporate partnerships. But there are plenty of reasons why corporations, too, want to partner with nonprofits. These benefits include:

1. Public perception

Partnering with a nonprofit provides corporations with a nice reputation boost. It shows that they’re more than a for-profit company and they want to give back. This can really boost public perception of a company.

And it works – 90% of companies feel that partnering with a reputable nonprofit organization improves the value of their brand.

2. Employee morale

Employees feel better about the companies they work for when they can see them being generous with the community. This boosts employee morale because they feel good about what they do and who they support with their work.

3. Advertising possibilities

Connecting with new audiences is a big perk for corporations that make partnerships with nonprofits. Usually, this happens through social media, newsletters, campaign materials, and any sponsorship materials like event programs and building signs.

4. Attracting new customers

Someone who otherwise might not have purchased something from a company might reconsider if they learn about the company’s partnership with a nonprofit.

This leads to new customers that companies can work on retaining and building long-term consumer relationships with.

5 Crucial Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Models

There are some common nonprofit partnership models that describe how these partnerships function.

1. Workplace giving

Workplace giving programs allow employees to give donations through payroll deductions. This boosts employee morale and helps them feel fulfilled, even if they aren’t directly involved with the nonprofit. Sometimes these programs include company matching to double the impact.

Donorbox lets you seamlessly integrate with Double the Donation to add a donation-matching widget to your Donorbox donation form. Donors can check if their employers will be matching the donation while giving to your organization. Later on, Donorbox will send them details to complete the process at their end and help you double (even triple) their donations.

Check out how has embedded its Donorbox donation form on its website with donation-matching enabled to help donors double the donations.

donation matching campaign donation form on donorbox

2. Cause marketing

This involves companies partnering with nonprofits to sell a product, such as a t-shirt, hat, or bag of coffee, where part or all of the proceeds benefit the nonprofit. Cause marketing helps companies change their public perception, allows consumers to feel good about their purchase (and learn more about the nonprofit), and helps the nonprofit with much-needed funds.

3. Corporate sponsorship

One of the most popular options for nonprofit corporation partnerships, corporate sponsorships involve companies contributing to a specific event or cause in exchange for advertising.

For example, a company might sponsor a fundraising gala or provide funds to build an exhibit in a museum. See how JTCC created the below donation page on Donorbox to accept sponsorships for their 2023 GEICO Champions Celebration. The various sponsorship levels maintain transparency and encourage companies to choose the one that suits them best.

corporate sponsorship campaign on donorbox

Get Sponsorships with a Customized Campaign Page!

4. In-kind donations

In-kind donations are a great way for corporations to partner with nonprofits. This refers to gifts of goods or services instead of money.

For example, a law firm might provide some pro-bono legal services to a nonprofit, or a soda company might provide beverages for a nonprofit’s event.

5. Grantmaking

Sometimes a partnership is as simple as a corporation giving a grant to a nonprofit. Larger corporations often have grantmaking programs where they accept proposals that align with their corporate values.

This relationship can be very valuable as grants can be given year after year to support a nonprofit’s important work.

4 Great Examples of Nonprofit Corporate Partnerships

1. Coca-Cola and Special Olympics

Coca-Cola was a founding partner of Special Olympics, which means the two entities have been working together since 1968. The soda company supports events and programs globally with cash and in-kind donations, volunteering, and various initiatives to raise awareness.

​​This long-standing partnership has been wildly beneficial for both parties that say they share values of optimism, acceptance, and inclusion. These shared values and the two partners seem like a great fit.

2. National Football League (NFL) and American Cancer Society (ACS)

Partners since 2009, NFL and ACS work together on their Crucial Catch program. The program promotes the prevention and early detection of cancer, along with increased access to cancer screenings for all. This work has impacted over one million people and made $24 million.

The NFL gets to both make a real difference and show its audiences that they care about more than just football, while ACS is able to broaden its important fight against cancer.

3. Disney and Make-A-Wish Foundation

Disney has helped Make-A-Wish grant over 145,000 wishes since their partnership began in 1980. Their shared passion to create magical experiences for children with critical illnesses makes them a great fit for partnership.

In addition to helping with grant wishes, Disney works with Make-A-Wish on fundraising campaigns, including their successful recent campaign “From Our Family to Yours” which sold a limited edition Mickey Mouse.

4. UPS and Boys & Girls Clubs of America

UPS partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America nearly thirteen years ago when they launched their program to help teens stay safe on the road. This partnership has provided 60,000 teens with access to its unique educational program, in addition to supporting annual signature events for the nonprofit.

Since UPS spends so much time on the road, and Boys & Girls Clubs works to connect with teens all over America, this partnership program makes sense for both entities and helps them work toward their shared goal of protecting teens on the road.

Final Thoughts

Partnerships become legendary when they’re synergistic – and when they make sense. Corporate-nonprofit partnerships make a lot of sense for both parties because of the benefits they bring. Nonprofits get additional support and exposure, while corporations get to revamp their brand and do good in their communities.

There are many different kinds of partnerships, so if you’re looking for corporate partnerships you have many options to find one that works best for your needs.

Donorbox helps nonprofits manage their fundraising with intuitive, growth-focused tools. As you’ve seen throughout the article, many organizations utilize Donorbox tools to set up their partnership programs online and accept corporate donations. Learn about all our products and features on the website. Sign up to start fundraising today!

Want tips on fundraising, appeal letters, sponsorship letters, and more? Check out our Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a curated list of Donorbox’s best resources in your inbox every month.

Lindsey Baker

Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community.

  • linkedin

Join the fundraising movement!

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive the latest blogs, news, and more in your inbox.

Take your donor experience to the next level!
Join the 50,000+ nonprofits already raising funds online.
Join a 30min Demo to see how Donorbox can help you reach your fundraising goals!
Join a 30min Live Demo to see how Donorbox can help you reach your fundraising goals!