While your organization is surely familiar with the process of securing donations from individual supporters, you may not be as well-versed in the ways your nonprofit can obtain contributions from larger entities, from small businesses to multinational corporations. According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies provide matching gift programs. And an estimated $4-$7 billion in corporate philanthropy funds go unclaimed.
The benefits of corporate philanthropy programs are many.
If your nonprofit hasn’t yet taken advantage of the many forms of corporate philanthropy, this article is the one for you!
Simply put, corporate philanthropy is the act of companies contributing to charitable causes, be that through monetary donations, volunteer time, or something else entirely. Through these programs, they support communities and community organizations where the companies are based. These corporate philanthropy programs are often made a part of the company’s employee engagement program to encourage a positive work environment.
Many companies have corporate philanthropy programs in place to encourage employee charitable giving and volunteering. These philanthropy programs are highly beneficial for companies, but they’re even better for the nonprofits they support.
In this article, we’ll go over four different types of corporate philanthropy programs and show you how each can play a major part in your organization’s overall strategy.
Here’s a preview of the topics we’ll cover:
- Matching Gifts
- Dollars for Doers
- Volunteer Support Programs
- Community Grants
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it will give your nonprofit a solid introduction to the different ways you can implement corporate philanthropy and maximize your donations.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
4 Game-Changing Types of Corporate Philanthropy Programs
1. Matching Gifts
If you’re looking for a way to literally double (or triple!) your donors’ contributions, you’re in luck!
Matching gift programs are as simple as they sound. Essentially, companies match their employees’ donations to eligible nonprofits.
While there are different ratios at which an employer might match a gift, most companies follow a standard 1:1 (or dollar-per-dollar) matching rate. That means a donor’s $100 becomes $200, and so on.
Most nonprofits and community organizations are eligible to receive matching gifts, but some ineligible organizations include sports teams, certain types of religious groups, and political organizations.
Not only are matching gift programs easy for you to implement as an organization, but they’re simple for your supporters to get on board with, too. The submission process is easy for donors and can usually be completed in less than ten minutes. (Tip: check out this sample page from the National Kidney Foundation to see how easy matching gifts can be!)
Depending on the specific company, the employee may have anywhere from as little as a month to upwards of a calendar year to complete their request to their employer. That said, it’s imperative that you educate your donors on this process so they can get their submissions in quickly — and you can receive your funds!
In order to make the most of this corporate philanthropy program, make sure that your marketing strategy is inclusive of matching gift promotions. Include matching gift information on your donation page, in social media posts and newsletters, and in person at events!
Most importantly, don’t forget to thank donors when you receive their donation as well as their matched gift!
Bottom Line: Matching gifts are the two-for-one deal of the nonprofit sector. These philanthropy programs make it easier than ever to maximize donation potential through corporate philanthropy.
2. Dollars for Doers
Dollars for doers programs turn volunteer time into fiscal donations.
Through these programs, companies provide monetary grants to organizations where employees regularly volunteer.
Also called volunteer grants, these programs are put in place by companies looking to encourage employee volunteerism, enhance employee engagement, and promote team-building through group community service.
Volunteers already offer a valuable service by dedicating their time and energy to your cause, but now their efforts can be amplified to impact your organization even further!
Most nonprofit organizations are eligible for these programs, but companies do tend to be restrictive in terms of number of volunteer hours required for a grant. Companies usually only offer donations to organizations where employees have volunteered at least 10 hours (on average).
Some companies set a threshold for the number of hours that need to be met to receive a grant, but others donate on an hourly basis.
In addition to individual volunteer grants, some companies also offer group volunteer grants for employees who participate in community service activities as a team.
Typically, the more employees that volunteer, the more money the company will donate. For example, Walmart grants $500 when 5 or more employees volunteer for 25 hours. However, when 50 or more employees volunteer together, Walmart will donate up to $5,000!
These group-oriented activities can even include participation in team fundraisers, such as walkathons or runs. These types of fundraisers pair exceptionally well with online peer-to-peer campaigns, where donors fundraise using their social networks.
As you’re laying out your volunteer strategy, consider adding group-oriented opportunities to supercharge your volunteer grant potential.
Bottom Line: Dollars for doers programs combine the two most important aspects of nonprofit contributions: volunteers and fiscal donations. Volunteer grants can be a great way to boost your fundraising abilities through existing volunteers’ employers.
3. Volunteer Support Programs
While monetary donations are an invaluable part of a nonprofit’s success, volunteers are an equally vital resource for your organization.
We’ve already discussed how you can tap into your existing volunteers to draw in additional fundraising dollars, but there are even more ways to maximize your volunteer resources through corporate philanthropy.
Volunteer support programs enable companies to donate their resources to nonprofit organizations in need. Also often known as volunteer grant programs, this corporate philanthropy program helps nonprofits with monetary grants when employees volunteer for these organizations.
Donations can be in the form of volunteer services or tangible goods. A few examples include:
- Business consulting services.
- Food products.
- Office supplies.
- Technology, such as computers or software.
- Marketing strategies.
- Building supplies and construction materials.
The goods and services will obviously vary by company, so consider what resources would be of the most use to your organization before seeking out one of these kinds of grants. For instance, these donations might be especially useful for fundraising events or very specific projects, like a capital campaign.
While not every company has these programs in place, volunteer support programs can supply your nonprofit with specialized volunteers who can assist in ways that other volunteers may not be able to.
Plus, they enable nonprofits to receive top-quality products and services completely free. Clearly a major benefit!
Bottom Line: Volunteer support programs or volunteer grant programs can equip nonprofits with invaluable services and goods from generous companies. Although you won’t receive any funds directly, you could benefit from up to thousands of dollars in donated resources.
4. Community Grants
If your organization is looking to effect positive changes in your community, this philanthropy program is your best choice. You may be able to receive financial assistance from companies that share your vision.
Though the specifics vary by company, community grants are essentially lump sums of money given to nonprofits by companies. Often, companies give these out on an annual basis.
These are a great option for organizations looking for funding to complete a large-scale project, continue a community program, or participate in disaster relief efforts.
Though most types of corporate grants require the employee to submit a request, community grants are typically requested by the nonprofits themselves.
Sometimes, a company will forgo the application process and choose the nonprofit themselves, but usually, nonprofits are responsible for explaining their needs and the solutions the grant would provide through a grant proposal.
Writing grant proposals can be a serious undertaking, but one of the most important steps is finding the right corporate partner — that is, who is the best company to provide the funds you need?
Just as you would perform prospect research to seek out the right individual donors, you need to put some thought into your process for applying for a community grant.
As you’re researching, you may want to ask yourself the following questions to determine which company is the best fit for your organization:
- What does this company value? Many companies have specific parameters for the kinds of projects and community organizations they’re interested in funding. For example, the Verizon Foundation dedicates itself to education, healthcare, and energy management. Find a company that’s a strong mission match to your organization to increase your chances of receiving a grant.
- How much money does my organization need? While some companies have no cap on the amount they’ll donate through these grants, others do have set limits. Consider how much of your overall fundraising goals you’d like to fulfill through grants, as well as how much total funding your campaign will require. Sometimes it makes sense to apply for many smaller grants, but you may want to dedicate your energy toward procuring a few large-dollar donations instead.
- What are the submission deadlines for this grant? Every company has different time constraints for their grant applications, so make sure you have enough time to adequately complete your request. Grant proposals can be time-consuming, but it’s important that you spend the necessary time to put together a thorough request letter.
Bottom Line: These grants can help your nonprofit organization meet fundraising goals for a specific project or long-term campaign. Although they’re not as immediate to implement as some other corporate philanthropy opportunities, the payoffs from these programs are well worth the effort in the end.
Over to You
Corporate philanthropy is a true win-win scenario — companies benefit from increased social impact, while nonprofits receive the donations they require to continue expanding their mission.
As now you’ve understood the many benefits of corporate philanthropy, take advantage of all these types of corporate philanthropy programs to increase donations, receive valuable resources, and maximize volunteer power.
For more information on how matching gifts work and how they can boost your fundraising revenue, check out Double the Donation!