5 Types of Corporate Philanthropy that Nonprofits Should Be Thinking About

The whole idea of corporate philanthropy brings to mind a famous quote from an anonymous source:

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”

That quote answers a common question behind corporate philanthropy. Why do companies choose to have corporate philanthropy programs?

The modern cynic would go straight to tax breaks and public image, but there’s a force looming larger than those two options. Philanthropy is an important social responsibility for businesses, regardless of their size. Worth goes beyond wealth. Corporate philanthropy adds worth to a company, even if it’s not financial worth.

With all that said, more and more businesses are offering a vast array of corporate philanthropy options.

As a nonprofit organization, there are five types of corporate philanthropy that you should focus in on.

Your nonprofit can use any of these five options to improve your fundraising efforts. Don’t miss out on the generous programs that are just waiting to be used.

1. Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are so easy to acquire, it is a true shame that more nonprofits and donors don’t seek them.

A matching gift program is a form of corporate giving that lets an employee decide how their employer allocates corporate philanthropic funds. With these programs, an employer will match an employee’s donation to eligible organizations. The whole process is really quite easy.

Picture your incredibly loyal donor, Rachel. After discovering matching gifts, you realize that Rachel works for a company with the standard 1:1 match ratio. What does this mean? It means that if you can get Rachel to submit a matching gift request for her last donation of $500, her company will also contribute $500 to your organization.

And that $1,000 is from a 1:1 match. Sometimes you’ll see companies with 2:1 or even 3:1 ratios. With 3:1 in the particular scenario above, you’d be looking at a $2,000 donation that started at a quarter of that.

Discover three quick and easy ways to market matching gifts.

2. Volunteer Grants

Employers reward their employees for their volunteerism via volunteer grants. Also known as dollars for doers, these corporate philanthropy programs let companies donate to organizations where employees volunteer time.

Companies will allocate a specific amount of funding per a set amount of hours spent volunteering.

Let’s go back to loyal donor Rachel. Turns out, she has a best friend, volunteering Victor. Vic’s company has a great dollars for doers program and he is a volunteer phenom. They’re the perfect pairing. Following the parameters of his employer’s program, after volunteering 40 hours with your organization, his company granted your nonprofit $1,500.

With volunteer grants, you get the benefits of engaged and active volunteers and the financial security of donations.

3. Challenge Grants

Challenge grants are exactly as they sound. They’re grants with a challenge component.

In order to receive a challenge grant, a nonprofit has to make an arrangement with a grant making party to earn the funds upon completion of a previously arranged task.

In a practical sense, this means that your organization has to agree to reach certain goals and fundraise a certain amount before it receives its promised funding but many businesses (both small and large) view challenge grants as a way to encourage nonprofits to go out and raise additional funds to go along with the corporate contribution.

Keep in mind that challenge grants are offered outside of corporations, often times by foundations. However, plenty of companies do have challenge grant programs for nonprofits.

4. Automatic Payroll Deductions

These are awesome fundraising bonuses once they’re set up, but harder than some of the other options to secure.

Many companies will offer employees the option to donate preset portions of their paychecks to charity. The deductions are automatic, so the employer, employee and nonprofit don’t have to worry about additional steps.

If you can encourage your donors to add a small recurring automatic payroll deduction for your nonprofit, it can add predictability to your fundraising efforts.

In order to figure out businesses to look into for payroll deductions, perform a prospect screening of your loyal donors and get updated employment information from them. Are there any companies that multiple high-quality supporters work for? Do those companies have payroll deductions? That’ll be a good place to start, especially since some companies provide a suggested list of organizations employees can support.

5. Fundraise Matches

Last, but not least, we have fundraising matches.

We all know about participation medals (you know, the trophy you get for joining and sticking it out). It isn’t the most exciting award to get, but hey—a trophy is a trophy is a trophy.

Now imagine if I told you there is such thing as a fundraising participation medal. There is and it’s more commonly called a fundraising match. Instead of getting a trophy you get a donation. Feels better, doesn’t it?

Many companies will give fundraising matches in two manners. Some offer a set grant amount for every walk, run, skip, hop and jump an employee participates in. 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.

Approximately only 5% of US-based charitable giving comes from corporations.

These companies have the money and resources to help your organization. They have the programs in place to make a huge difference locally, nationally and even globally. Their behavior shows that they want to help.

If you consider your organization to be growth-focused (and you should), utilize all the fundraising tools at your disposal—corporate philanthropy initiatives included.

Nonprofits need to jump on the opportunities these various types of corporate philanthropy provide and start to increase that low 5%.


Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Double the Donation's robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.

September 10, 2015

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