In today’s corporate world, employees and consumers are becoming increasingly focused on supporting socially responsible businesses. Consequently, more and more companies are developing philanthropic programming. And nonprofits looking to raise much-needed funds for their causes are turning to corporate giving as a way to build mutually beneficial business relationships!
As a nonprofit fundraiser yourself, perhaps you’ve recently developed a strategy in order to leverage matching gift opportunities (one of the most prominent forms of corporate philanthropy) for your mission. Maybe you’ve even invested in a matching gift solution to automate the process, better engage with your donors, and collect more individual and corporate funding for your cause.
Now begs the question: what other types of corporate philanthropy are on the table, and how can you begin leveraging these initiatives for your organization?
For many nonprofits, corporate partnerships are the answer you’re looking for—and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation makes the process as easy as can be.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to identify corporate partnerships for nonprofits (and how your team can best pursue the opportunities) by exploring the following topics:
- The Basics of Corporate Partnerships for Nonprofits
- The Relationship Between Matching Gifts and Corporate Partnerships
- How to Identify Corporate Partnerships Using 360MatchPro | 4 Methods
Like matching gifts, corporate partnerships offer a win-win situation for the nonprofits and businesses that partake. However, many organizations have no idea where to begin when it comes to scouring for partnership opportunities, near and far.
The Basics of Corporate Partnerships for Nonprofits
Corporate partnerships are a particular form of support nonprofits receive from corporations, often for a specific purpose such as an event or other project.
Benefits include not only the increased funding provided by corporate partners but also significantly elevated exposure and awareness brought to your organization through strategic co-marketing efforts.
Corporate partnerships can come in many forms as well, including:
- Financial — This is your most typical type of corporate partnership agreement and takes place when a company provides financial support to a nonprofit cause.
- In-kind — In-kind sponsorships occur when a company donates non-monetary goods and services to an organization. This may include free or reduced-cost event space rentals, catering services, or even business gift certificates and products for prizes.
- Media — Finally, media sponsorships are a unique type of corporate partnership where a company partners with a nonprofit organization in order to take on the cost of promoting the event—such as with radio advertisements, TV commercials, or printed materials.
Then, regardless of the type of agreement offered, the nonprofit typically agrees to recognize the company through event or project marketing content (i.e., signage, merchandise, online advertising, and more).
The Relationship Between Matching Gifts and Corporate Partnerships
Matching gifts and corporate partnerships go hand in hand as two particularly powerful forms of corporate giving. Here’s what you need to know:
Matching gifts are one of the most popular examples of corporate philanthropy among companies and their employees and nonprofits and their donors. Essentially what occurs with this type of giving program is that businesses agree to provide funding to qualifying nonprofits in order to match charitable donations their employees make to the causes. Thus, individual donors function as arguably the most essential players in the partnership. Companies that offer matching gift programs will typically provide donation matches to a wide range of nonprofit causes that their employees support.
On the other hand, corporate partnerships take place when companies provide funding to nonprofit causes based on particular agreements made between the company and the nonprofit. Though donors and employees can certainly vie for these types of initiatives to occur, any one individual does not typically play a particularly hands-on role in corporate partnerships being developed. Businesses that participate offer corporate partnerships typically contribute larger amounts of funding to a smaller number of organizations as compared to employee matching gift programs.
However, the two concepts do see significant overlap as well. Specifically, both matching gifts and corporate partnerships function as strategic relationships between nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, and each philanthropic opportunities offer unique and substantial benefits to both parties involved.
How to Identify Corporate Partnerships Using 360MatchPro | 4 Methods
With more than 32.5 million businesses operating in the United States alone, that’s a lot of potential sponsorships for nonprofit organizations. But how can they know where to begin their efforts—and target their outreach toward companies that are the most likely to respond positively to partnership inquiries?
Here are a few things fundraising professionals can do as they learn how to identify corporate partnerships and other opportunities using Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro functionality:
1. Locate top matching gift companies.
Companies that offer matching gift programs are likely to be some of the best prospective corporate sponsors. After all, they already show an interest in philanthropy and supporting nonprofit causes, which can provide you with an existing “in” to the conversation.
If your organization has access to a 360MatchPro account, locating these companies is made even easier. Double the Donation’s automated matching gift platform offers a detailed dashboard that provides invaluable information for nonprofits about their donors. The page includes daily tracking of donations flowing into the system, the amount of identified matching gift dollars, real-time donor engagement statistics, and a list of the “top 10 companies” being looked up in their search tool.
Specifically, the top companies tool (which can also expand to show all companies contributing donation matches) provides an opportunity for nonprofits to deepen these relationships. With this functionality, users can quickly locate additional context on some of the most valuable companies to approach for corporate partnership opportunities and more.
When a user views this data, they can easily navigate to the company’s website and retrieve contact information to get in touch. From there, they can utilize the company’s status as a top matching gift company as a rapport-building tool to get their foot in the door.
For example, a nonprofit may communicate something like this to a business with which they’re interested in partnership:
“Our organization has received 620 donations and $28,000 match identified dollars from your company in the past year. We see that you are dedicated to charitable giving, and it seems that we have a lot in common already! Are you interested in partnering with our team as a corporate sponsor for our upcoming fundraising event?”
This can also set the stage for identifying additional corporate partnerships such as in-kind donations (e.g., a food bank or homeless shelter working with a business to set up a donation box at the company’s office or store), corporate volunteer opportunities (as team-building activities), and many more.
2. Utilize custom redirects for ineligible donors.
Unfortunately, not all companies offer matching gift programs—but that doesn’t mean you should remove them from your list of potential corporate partnerships.
In fact, existing donors who work for companies that do not match employee donations can be some of your greatest allies in the process! And Double the Donation makes it as easy as possible to empower these individuals with the tools they need to pitch charitable giving opportunities to their employers with custom redirects and powerful suggested next steps.
Let’s take a look at this idea in action! Here’s an example of a custom redirect from the Denver Rescue Mission:
This organization sends follow-up emails after its donors have been identified as likely ineligible for a matching gift. The message includes a link to a dedicated web page that provides information on other ways the donors can make an impact without existing matching gift programs in place. And that’s something your team can do, too!
We recommend including a number of ways that the receiving donors can get further involved with your nonprofit—even after determining that their gift is not able to be matched by their employer. For example, consider encouraging supporters to take the following next steps:
Make a recommendation for matching gifts.
For companies that don’t have existing matching gift programs, encourage donors to reach out and float the idea upwards. An employee may get in touch with their employer’s HR department to discuss the possibility of launching a matching gift program.
To further simplify the process for your donors, you might even provide a customizable template (such as the one included in this How to Advocate for a Matching Gift Program guide) they can use to pitch matching gifts and highlight the business value available to the company.
And who knows? They might end up developing a matching gift initiative after all!
Look into additional workplace giving opportunities.
Let’s say a donor’s employer doesn’t offer a matching gift program. That’s not to say they don’t have any workplace giving initiatives in place! Encourage donors who work for non-matching gift companies to look into additional corporate giving opportunities they may be eligible to participate in.
Thousands of companies offer volunteer grants, while others may provide annual grant stipends, paid volunteer time off, etc. The possibilities are endless, and all can have a positive impact on your organization.
Multiply their impact in other ways.
Perhaps the donor’s employer is not interested in launching any workplace giving opportunities just yet. That doesn’t mean the donor themselves is not able to amplify their impact on your cause! At this point, be sure to provide recommendations for other ways an individual can get further involved.
For example, if an individual has contributed a one-time donation, see if they’re interested in getting involved in a recurring monthly giving program! Alternatively, you can highlight other ways they can bring value to your cause, such as by volunteering with your organization or even taking on a peer-to-peer fundraising role.
You already know that your donors are invested in your organization and its cause. Having a strategy in place for getting match-eligible donors involved in their employers’ matching gift programs is great. But you don’t want to neglect those who have been identified as match-ineligible, either.
Guiding said donors toward additional opportunities for support is a must. And, if you have 360MatchPro, you don’t have to worry about following up with individual supporters, thanks to your customizable and automated email streams that lead the way.
3. Reach out to companies without matching gift programs.
Sure, your donors can be some of your strongest advocates for corporate partnership opportunities. But you can also reach out to potential sponsors yourself to propose business partnerships and build relationships.
One of the best ways to do so starts with the companies your donors work for that have been determined not to offer matching gift programs. After all, they’re currently missing out on a substantial opportunity for increased business success. Partnering with your organization can empower them to leverage philanthropy to make the most of it.
Consider reaching out to some of the top companies identified through 360MatchPro’s dashboard. From there, you can start with a simple template like this:
“Hi! We see that more than 35 dedicated donors to our nonprofit are employed by your company. Unfortunately, however, it looks like you don’t offer a matching gift program. Because we already have so much in common with us, we were hoping you might be interested in developing a mutually beneficial corporate partnership.”
For the best results, be sure to highlight whatever value proposition you can provide your corporate sponsors in terms of your upcoming event or project. Not only will these companies be inclined to build a relationship based on the overlap between your two teams, but they’ll also be able to examine the tangible benefits made available by the partnership.
4. Pursue custom matching gift opportunities.
Similar to how you could seek a corporate sponsorship by an employer prevalent in your donor network, you might also decide to pursue a “one-off” or custom matching gift program with the company.
Not familiar with that idea? It’s essentially a matching gift initiative that involves a specific agreement between your organization and a dedicated corporate partner. While the partner may not match donations to other nonprofits their employees support, they do commit to doubling donations made by team members to your cause. Since it involves a significantly lower investment of the company’s time, effort, and resources, it may be a more effective ask than if you were to recommend the business launch a new, fully-fledged matching gift program.
Depending on how the conversation goes, you can even share with them our detailed guide on How to Start a Matching Gift Program to help them move through the process. Should they decide to take on the task, 360MatchPro also offers unique functionality for nonprofits managing their side of such programs within the matching gift platform. Not to mention, you can offer groundbreaking auto-submission functionality through Double the Donation, which streamlines the request process for the company’s employees and minimizes the administrative lift for the company itself!
*As a note, this feature is designed specifically for fundraisers looking to manage custom matching gift initiatives—360MatchPro does not work directly with corporations. If you’re a company interested in creating a matching gift program, contact us, and we’ll share information about our corporate vendor partners.
Increasing revenue through corporate philanthropy is an excellent objective for nonprofits of all shapes, sizes, and missions. And learning how to identify corporate partnerships is one of the best steps you can take to get there!
For the greatest results, be sure your team is equipped with the tools you need for ongoing, substantial success. For matching gifts and corporate partnership opportunities, Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro offers the best-in-class technology to drive matching gifts to completion, uncover potential sponsorships, and more.
Interested in learning more about corporate fundraising? Check out these other educational posts from Double the Donation:
- Why Workplace Giving Matters for Nonprofits + Companies. Workplace giving programs such as matching gifts and volunteer grants can make a substantial impact on the nonprofits and companies that participate. Learn more about the benefits of workplace giving and how you can utilize the initiatives for your cause.
- Corporate Giving Programs: The Ultimate Fundraising Guide. Corporate giving programs are not limited to matching gifts and corporate partnerships! Find out everything there is to know about some of the most popular and effective philanthropy programs offered by companies across the globe with this detailed guide.
- Matching Gift Databases: Our Comprehensive Guide for 2022. Matching gift software can make a huge difference for matching gift fundraising as well as other forms of corporate giving. Dive into this resource that highlights what to look for in a matching gift database and how it can help your team raise more.