If you keep up with philanthropy trends and data, regarding where money comes from and where it goes, you probably already know the majority of donations come from individuals. In 2015, people gave a record high $373.25 billion to charity in the United States, and individuals gave 71% of that ($264.85 billion). Corporations gave only 5% of that ($18.45 billion). The takeaway for many nonprofit leaders is simple: focus on individual relationships as the primary source of donations. This is a plan almost any seasoned fundraiser would agree with. However, I would also propose that you don’t completely abandon the idea or effort of seeking corporate support when fundraising for your nonprofit organization.
You should seek out corporate nonprofit partnerships for more than just an event sponsorship or one-time gift. For the most part, individual donors give for completely different reasons than companies. Companies exist to make a profit, and shareholders invest in companies for a return on that investment. Therefore, how they give is driven much more on profits and company policy. This is not to say companies don’t want to make a difference, but you should approach corporate giving differently than individual donors and prospects.
When it comes to corporate giving, there are some things to think about when approaching potential partnerships.
Corporate Representatives Make Great Board Members
Many businesses encourage community involvement, but some actually require it. Because corporate executives have lots of contacts, and know and understand various aspects of the community, they can be effective and valuable board or committee members. Oftentimes, representatives from corporations can use their position with their companies to help open doors and introduce you to other potential donors and partnerships for your nonprofit.
Leverage Local Businesses for Their Client Base
If you can create a partnership with a local business or a chain of businesses, having them support you is a public endorsement of the work you do, and their customers can be influenced by their support. Studies have shown customer loyalty actually increases from businesses known to give back to charitable organizations. Having businesses fundraise on your behalf or publicly endorse your work is a great way to share your story with the community.
Leverage Corporations for Their Employee Base
Corporate employees can be a great source of volunteers, friends, and even donors to your nonprofit. Some of them probably have benefited from the services of your organization, so the connection may already be there. Keep in mind, a lot of times businesses find higher morale when their employees work together for a common cause. You can tap into this and grow your support by engaging companies with a large employee base.
Remember, no matter the size or mission, any nonprofit can implement a corporate giving program. You can increase your chances for success by choosing the right partner and demonstrating how a relationship is mutually beneficial. Hopefully, with some of these tips, you can add corporate contributions to your fundraising plan.
Free Live Webinar: Creating, Building, and Maintaining Corporate Partnerships
Corporate partnerships are important because they can help your organization become more visible. Get to know and understand your community to learn what businesses are headquartered there. Do some research to figure out what kinds of organizations they are giving to, and which corporations might be a good partnership fit. Then build relationships with them similarly to how you would with donor prospects. And don’t discount local businesses. They can often be just as powerful as large businesses.
During this webinar, you will learn:
- How to find corporate partnerships
- Ways to look beyond just sponsorships
- Stories of successful corporate partnerships with nonprofits
- Tips for creating long-term relationships with corporate partners