Courting Corporate: Utilizing the Opportunities of Company Philanthropy

Today’s non-profit organizations have lots of avenues to explore when seeking monetary donations, from public and private fundraising events to email, social media and crowdfunding campaigns. But too often one major source of potential is overlooked or dismissed by a cause-related board of directors or internal staff: the power of partnering with major corporations and large businesses.

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Corporations have a lot to gain from such relationships with large and small non-profits: aside from the obvious tax breaks they enjoy and an enhancement of their public image, many multinationals today understand the importance of social responsibility, a sign of the times in our increasingly generous society.

So how should a non-profit, no matter its size, leverage corporate philanthropy? Consider these important fundraising opportunities, compliments of Adam Weinger, president of Double the Donation, a company that provides tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Make a Match
One of the easiest ways to encourage donations, matching gifts “lets an employee decide how their employer allocates corporate philanthropic funds,” notes Weinger. Imagine a massive company matching dollar for dollar an employee’s donation to certain non-profts? The potential financial windfall is obvious, so organizations should aggressively pursue getting on a corporation’s list of eligible charities.

Reward Volunteers
Many employers love to reward their employees for giving their time and talent to charities in need. And as Weinger says, “these corporate philanthropy programs let companies donate to organizations where employees [already] volunteer time.” Most companies base their donations on hours spent by employee volunteerism, so encouraging said employees to spend time helping your organization can really boost a bottom line.

Pursue the Paycheck
A little harder to get in place, automatic payroll deductions, if done correctly, can be a highly successful means of fundraising. “Many companies will offer employees the option to donate preset portions of their paychecks to charity,” says Weinger. The trick to encouraging these sorts of donations is to appeal to the individual employees first, and therefore encourage them to approach their corporate higher-ups with the opportunity.

Encourage Activity
For those non-profits that hold events such as fun runs and other direct participation activities, getting a company to establish a fundraising match is a great opportunity to look into. “Some [companies] offer a set grant amount for every walk, run, skip, hop and jump an employee participates in,” says Weinger. “Others mirror matching gift programs in that the businesses will donate funds of equal or greater value (depending on the ratio) to the amount raised by an employee for a specific fundraising activity, like a 5K.” No matter what form a fundraising match agreement takes, however, it’s an ideal way for a non-profit to easily double the amount of proceeds raised from a particular event or even multiple events.

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