Learn how to leverage a corporate sponsorship for your nonprofit's next event!

Corporate Sponsorships: The Ultimate Nonprofit Guide

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Securing corporate sponsorships for nonprofits may seem like a daunting task to take on. After all, it involves doing research, appealing to companies, and following up to stay engaged.

It’s understandable that some nonprofits may choose to forgo corporate sponsorships. But these partnerships can prove to be invaluable sources of not just revenue, but also a positive social image and the foundation of important relationships.

In this article, we’ll discuss some corporate sponsorship best practices your organization can leverage to secure the best partnership suited to your cause, as well as some of the top corporate sponsors. We’ll cover the following topics:

  1. What is a Corporate Sponsorship?
  2. Who to Ask for Corporate Sponsorships
  3. Companies with Excellent Corporate Sponsorship Programs
  4. How to Ask for a Corporate Sponsorship
  5. How to Cultivate Relationships with Corporate Sponsors
  6. Additional Corporate Giving Programs

Understanding the importance of corporate sponsorships is just the beginning. Securing the right corporate sponsorship is another story entirely. Let’s get started!

A corporate sponsorship is a form of support nonprofits receive from corporations for an event.

1. What is a Corporate Sponsorship?

A corporate sponsorship is a form of support nonprofits receive from corporations for an event or other project. The benefits are twofold: nonprofits receive the help they need to continue serving their missions, while the company receives tax deductions and a positive boost in their brand.

Corporate sponsorships can take many forms. Here are a few examples of the most common types:

Financial corporate sponsorships involve a company donating money to support an event.Financial

This is when a company donates money to sponsor an event or program. Generally, financial sponsorships consist of the nonprofits recognizing the company throughout various event materials, such as signage, merchandise, and online advertising.

An in-kind corporate sponsorship involves a company donating goods or services to an event.In-Kind

An in-kind sponsorship involves a company donating goods or services to an event or project. For example, a restaurant might provide catering services, or a spa may donate free spa packages as a raffle prize.

Media corporate sponsorships consist of a company paying for the cost of promoting the event.Media

Media sponsorships consist of a company paying for the cost of promoting the event. This could include radio promotions, TV ads, or printed advertisements.

Beyond typical corporate sponsorships, there are other forms of corporate giving that can help your nonprofit.

Corporate/Employee Giving

Beyond typical corporate sponsorships, there are other forms of corporate giving that can help your nonprofit. These include automatic payroll deductions, volunteer programs, and corporate matching gifts. Read more about these below!

Benefits of Corporate Sponsorships

Corporate sponsorships benefit both companies and nonprofits.

For nonprofits specifically, these benefits include:

  • Increased awareness around their cause
  • A way to acquire new supporters
  • A way boost your organization’s credibility

Benefits for companies include:

  • Positive brand recognition
  • Attracting new customers
  • Happy employees

This is who you should ask for a corporate sponsorship.

2. Who to Ask for Corporate Sponsorships

When it comes to asking for corporate sponsorships, it’s essential to put in the research and be careful and thoughtful about who you choose to work with. As you choose your partners, consider these characteristics:

This is what to consider when deciding who to ask for a corporate sponsorship.

Local Businesses

Start local! Approach the businesses in the immediate area of your event. These businesses are likely to see the value in sponsoring an event in their own community, which can have a huge impact on their decision to partner with you.

Shared Values

A corporate partner should align with your organization’s mission. This means if you’re an environmental organization, you should be working with a corporation that values sustainability, environmental conservation, and other related issues. Otherwise, your organization could end up losing credibility if you partner with a corporation that does substantial harm to the environment, or one that has received bad press.

Look Online

Search for lists of companies that donate to nonprofits online. These are companies that have a reputation for their philanthropic behaviors, so they might be more interested in forming a partnership than a business with no previous interest in charitable giving. You might find one you haven’t thought of before.

Leverage Points of Contact

If your board members or other high-ranking members of your organization have connections or contacts at a particular company, ask them to directly reach out and request a sponsorship.

Get Human Resources Involved

Most organizations looking for corporate sponsors approach the marketing department of a business—but why not ask the human resources department?

If you’re planning a walkathon or other physical event, for instance, ask HR if they have a health initiative in place. If they do, asking them to form a team would be a great way for them to get involved. You can offer discount codes for employees, a designated meeting place on event day, volunteer opportunities, and/or other perks depending on the level of sponsorship.

The takeaway: It’s important to find the right partners who share your values and a corporation you can establish a connection with. From there, you’ll be on your way to securing more support for your cause.


These are some of the top corporate sponsors.

3. Top 32 Companies with Excellent Corporate Sponsorship Programs

Our friends at Zipsprout have shared some interesting corporate sponsorship statistics that we’ve combined with our robust database of matching gift and volunteer grant programs to highlight the best corporate sponsorship and relationship opportunities.

Check out these top corporate sponsors!

1. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has sponsored 2.89% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #1 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We are proud of our legacy of serving and supporting those in need throughout the United States. We use our resources and expertise to address complex societal issues and pave a path to stability and financial success for the underserved.”

– Wells Fargo’s Community Giving Page

Corporate Giving Information

Wells Fargo offers both matching gifts and volunteer grants. The company matches up to $2,000 per employee at a 1:1 ratio.

Learn more about Wells Fargo’s corporate giving programs!

2. State Farm

State Farm has sponsored 1.07% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #5 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“With more than 19,000 agents around the country, State Farm is a committed member of your community and we welcome any opportunities that build our brand and tie into our marketing strategies on both a local and national level.”

– State Farm’s Marketing Sponsorships Page

Corporate Giving Information

State Farm offers both a matching gift program and volunteer grant opportunities. The company matches up to $3,000 at a 1:1 ratio for all types of employees and retirees.

Learn more about State Farm’s corporate giving programs!

3. PepsiCo

PepsiCo has sponsored 0.98% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #6 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“At The PepsiCo Foundation—our company’s philanthropic arm—we believe that thriving communities can change the world. That’s why our Foundation has been investing in social impact since 1962, focusing on supporting the essential elements of a sustainable food system—helping to alleviate hunger, manage water and waste responsibly and support women to drive economic growth and food security.”

– PepsiCo’s Philanthropy Page

Corporate Giving Information

PepsiCo matches employee donations up to $10,000, with a minimum donation amount of $25. The company also offers a volunteer grant program.

Learn more about PepsiCo’s corporate giving programs!

4. US Bank

US Bank has sponsored 0.97% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #7 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Nonprofit donations and sponsorship are an integral part of our company’s philanthropic initiatives. In 2019, U.S. Bank contributed $34 million in corporate contributions and nonprofit sponsorships.”

– US Bank’s Charitable Giving and Volunteerism Page

Corporate Giving Information

US Bank matches up to $3,000 in donations made by active full- and part-time employees at a 1:1 ratio. The company also offers a “Dollars for Doing” volunteer grant program.

Learn more about US Bank’s corporate giving programs!

5. Bank of America

Bank of America has sponsored 0.92% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #8 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Through our regional U.S. sponsorships, we support the economic, social and cultural life of the places we live and work. We provide an extensive program of arts and sports sponsorships to help maintain vibrant, healthy communities.”

– Bank of America’s Grants & Sponsorships Page

Corporate Giving Information

Bank of America offers matching gifts and volunteer grant opportunities. The company matches up to $5,000 in donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio.

Learn more about Bank of America’s corporate giving programs!

6. Budweiser/Budlight (Anheuser-Busch)

Budweiser has sponsored 0.76% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #9 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Our purpose is to maintain our unwavering commitment to being good community partners and stewards, leading the way on environmental sustainability, responsible drinking, disaster relief, and the economic well-being of our communities.”

– Anheuser-Busch’s Community Page

Corporate Giving Information

Anheuser-Busch’s matching gift program matches donations up to $5,000 per year at a 1:1 ratio.

Learn more about Anheuser-Busch’s corporate giving programs!

7. Clif Bar

Clif Bar has sponsored 0.74% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #10 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“From the volunteer work we do locally to the way we source ingredients globally, our commitment to the communities we touch is an important part of who we are.”

– Clif Bar’s Aspirations Page

Corporate Giving Information

Clif Bar offers a matching gift program to active employees, matching up to $2,500 in donations at a 1:1 ratio.

Learn more about Clif Bar’s corporate giving programs!

8. The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company has sponsored 0.72% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #11 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“The Coca-Cola Company is proud to have a long history of sponsoring major events, organizations and projects around the world.”

– The Coca-Cola Company’s Sponsorships Information 

Corporate Giving Information

The Coca-Cola Company offers a very generous matching gift program. The company matches up to $20,000 in donations per employee at a 2:1 ratio.

Learn more about The Coca-Cola Company’s corporate giving programs!

9. Walmart

Walmart has sponsored 0.68% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #12 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We seek to create value in the communities around the world where we operate, strengthening them through local grants supporting programs that help them thrive.”

– Walmart’s Local Community Support Information

Corporate Giving Information

Walmart matches up to $25,000 in donations made by executive-level employees at a 3:1 ratio. The company also offers a volunteer grant program.

Learn more about Walmart’s corporate giving programs!

10. McDonald’s

McDonald’s has sponsored 0.67% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #14 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We show our commitment to helping others with programs such as Ronald McDonald House Charities® programs and the RMHC®/HACER® National Scholarships. And through involvement in youth sports, local charities, and events that inspire the world, it’s clear that giving back is an essential part of the way we operate every day.”

– McDonald’s Community Page

Corporate Giving Information

McDonald’s offers a very generous matching gift program, matching up to $10,000 in employee donations (depending on role) per year at a 1:1 ratio.

Learn more about McDonald’s corporate giving programs!

11. PNC Bank

PNC Bank has sponsored 0.65% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #16 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We proudly commit resources to community organizations that drive the success of our neighborhoods.”

– PNC Bank’s Charitable Sponsorships Page

Corporate Giving Information

PNC Bank matches donations made by full-time employees up to $2,500, at up to a 4:1 ratio. The company also offers volunteer grants.

Learn more about PNC Bank’s corporate giving programs!

12. Starbucks

Starbucks has sponsored 0.63% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #17 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“It is our vision that we will help inspire our partners, customers, suppliers and neighbors to create positive change. To be innovators, leaders and contributors to an inclusive society and a healthy environment so that Starbucks and everyone we touch can endure and thrive.”

– Starbucks’ Social Impact Page

Corporate Giving Information

Starbucks will match up to $1,500 in donations made by active employees at a 1:1 ratio. The company also offers volunteer grants.

Learn more about Starbucks’ corporate giving programs!

13. IBM

IBM has sponsored 0.55% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #20 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We help communities take on challenges big and small. IBM brings the power of its technology, resources, and people to help with initiatives around the world, from education to health.”

– IBM.org

Corporate Giving Information

IBM matches up to $5,000 per institution per donor, to a total of $10,000 per year. The company also offers individual and team volunteer grants.

Learn more about IBM’s corporate giving programs!

14. Allstate

Allstate has sponsored 0.48% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #21 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Since 1952, The Allstate Foundation has led national programs, partnered with national organizations and offered grants to local nonprofits to create innovative, long-term solutions for those in need.”

The Allstate Foundation

Corporate Giving Information

Allstate matches donations made by active employees at up to a 1:1 ratio. The maximum match amount is $500. The company also offers volunteer grants.

Learn more about Allstate’s corporate giving programs!

15. TD Bank

TD Bank has sponsored 0.47% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #23 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“From Maine to Florida, TD Bank sponsors events, programs, projects, and activities that make a positive local impact.”

– TD Bank’s Funding Opportunities Page

Corporate Giving Information

While TD Bank does not offer a matching gift program, the company provides $500 grants to nonprofits after their employees have volunteered at least 40 hours in a year with the organization.

Learn more about TD Bank’s corporate giving programs!

16. Chevron

Chevron has sponsored 0.42% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #27 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Chevron also sponsors the Dubai Cares Walk for Education, an event to help provide quality education to children in developing countries. In 2019, more than 15,000 participants representing more than 200 nationalities walked alongside millions of children from developing countries who must walk long distances daily to attend school.”

– Chevron’s 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report

Corporate Giving Information

Chevron matches up to $10,000 in donations made by active employees, while retirees can request matches up to $3,000 annually. The company also offers a volunteer grant program.

Learn more about Chevron’s corporate giving programs!

17. Delta

Delta has sponsored 0.42% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #27 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Supporting healthier global communities, whether every day or when an unexpected disaster strikes, empowers individuals to get the most from every day. Delta’s commitment to action and outreach is exemplified through corporate support and employee engagement opportunities.”

– Delta’s 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report

Corporate Giving Information

Delta matches up to $5,000 at a 1:1 ratio to most educational nonprofits, including public and private schools, elementary schools, secondary schools, and colleges.

Learn more about Delta’s corporate giving programs!

18. GEICO

GEICO has sponsored 0.42% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #27 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Giving back and making our communities stronger. It may not sound like the work of a large insurance company. It may even sound too serious for the folks who bring you the quirky commercials and adorable Gecko! At GEICO, however, our commitment to provide outstanding community service is no less than our goal to provide excellent customer service to our policyholders.”

– GEICO’s In the Community Page

Corporate Giving Information

GEICO matches donations up to a 2:1 ratio, depending on the organization type, with a maximum of $1,000.

Learn more about GEICO’s corporate giving programs!

19. Boeing

Boeing has sponsored 0.41% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #31 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Through purposeful investments, employee engagement and thoughtful advocacy efforts, Boeing and its employees support innovative partnerships and programs that align with our strategic objectives, create value and help build better communities worldwide.”

– Boeing’s Community Engagement Page

Corporate Giving Information

Boeing matches employee donations at a 1:1 ratio, while retirees, spouses, and domestic partners receive a .5:1 match. The maximum match amount is $10,000.

Learn more about Boeing’s corporate giving programs!

20. The Home Depot

The Home Depot has sponsored 0.40% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #34 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Great things happen when compassionate groups unite for a common cause. The Home Depot Foundation partners with thousands of nonprofit organizations to deliver aid and ongoing support in our communities.”

– The Home Depot’s Partnerships Page

Corporate Giving Information

The Home Depot matches donations to most nonprofits. The company matches up to $1,000 annually per employee for each organization they donate to, for a total of $3,000 per employee.

Learn more about The Home Depot’s corporate giving programs!

21. PwC

PwC has sponsored 0.38% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #37 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Giving is personal: it connects us to the communities where we live and work; it connects us to each other—through crowdfunding that lets us provide meaningful support to our colleagues’ passions; and it connects us with our personal purpose—driving the fulfillment you can only get by serving others.”

– PwC’s Giving Page

Corporate Giving Information

PwC matches donations to select colleges and universities from which the company recruits. The maximum match amount is $10,000. A volunteer grant program is also offered.

Learn more about PwC’s corporate giving programs!

22. Toyota

Toyota has sponsored 0.38% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #37 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We’re passionate about serving the communities where we work, live and play. We help by giving our time, knowledge and resources to support local organizations.”

– Toyota’s Community Page

Corporate Giving Information

Toyota matches donations to educational institutions, with a maximum amount of $5,000 per Toyota’s fiscal year. Toyota’s volunteer grant program is open to a wide range of nonprofits.

Learn more about Toyota’s corporate giving programs!

23. Costco

Costco has sponsored 0.36% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #41 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Costco Wholesale’s primary charitable efforts specifically focus on programs supporting children, education, and health and human services in the communities where we do business.”

– Costco’s Charitable Giving Page

Corporate Giving Information

Costco matches donations to most nonprofits for select full-time salaried employees. The match limit varies from $1,000 to $10,000 per employee.

Learn more about Costco’s corporate giving programs!

24. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has sponsored 0.36% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #41 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Here at Southwest Airlines, our love of People and Community is our most powerful fuel, which is why we have a rich history of helping Customers and Communities through nonprofit support.”

– Southwest’s Charitable Giving Page

Corporate Giving Information

Southwest Airlines offers a “Tickets for Time” program. For every 40 hours volunteered by an employee or group of employees at a nonprofit, Southwest will donate a complimentary round-trip ticket to that organization.

Learn more about Southwest Airlines’ corporate giving programs!

25. Capital One

Capital One has sponsored 0.34% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #43 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“In fraught moments and in an ever-changing world, we seek to ensure that everyone has the

tools and resources they need to succeed.”

– Capital One’s 2019-2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Corporate Giving Information

Through Capital One’s volunteer grant program, once an employee volunteers for at least 25 hours in a calendar year, the company will provide a volunteer grant ($1 per hour). At the end of the year, the employee can direct the grant to any nonprofit, with a maximum of $300.

Learn more about Capital One’s corporate giving programs!

26. Cigna

Cigna has sponsored 0.34% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #43 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Our goal is to align Cigna, its executives and its employees with trusted organizations, events and brands that actualize Cigna’s mission and brand promise to all constituents.”

– Cigna’s Events and Sponsorships Page

Corporate Giving Information

Cigna matches employee donations to many organizations at a 1:1 ratio, with a maximum of $2,500 per year. The company also offers two types of volunteer grant programs.

Learn more about Cigna’s corporate giving programs!

27. Eastern Bank

Eastern Bank has sponsored 0.32% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #47 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Through the dedication of time and talent by our employee volunteers, the generosity of our Charitable Foundation’s sponsorship and grant efforts, and our partnerships with local community organizations to improve financial literacy, we are committed to giving back.”

– Eastern Bank’s Community Involvement Page

Corporate Giving Information

Eastern Bank matches donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio, with a maximum of $500.

Learn more about Eastern Bank’s corporate giving programs!

28. United Airlines

United Airlines has sponsored 0.32% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #47 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“At United, we believe in connecting people and engaging local and global communities to make a difference.”

– United’s Community Page

Corporate Giving Information

United Airlines offers a Volunteer Impact Grant Program. Employees who volunteer 40 or more hours with a nonprofit can apply for a grant of $1,000 to that organization.

Learn more about United Airlines’ corporate giving programs!

29. Cisco

Cisco has sponsored 0.31% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #50 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Cisco and the Cisco Foundation provide cash, products, and people to support nonprofit organizations.”

– Cisco’s Support for Nonprofits Page

Corporate Giving Information

Cisco matches donations and offers volunteer grants with a maximum amount of $25,000 annually.

Learn more about Cisco’s corporate giving programs!

30. Publix

Publix has sponsored 0.31% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #50 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Publix and Publix Charities give to local food banks and other nonprofits each year, and some donations are made with the generous help of our customers and associates.”

– Publix’s Corporate Campaigns Page

Corporate Giving Information

Publix matches donations to public or private schools (K-12, college, or university) with a maximum match of $5,000 per year.

Learn more about Publix’s corporate giving programs!

31. Nike

Nike has sponsored 0.30% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #55 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“We partner with more than 60 organizations to create positive impact in communities around the world.”

– Nike’s What We Do Page

Corporate Giving Information

Nike matches donations to most nonprofits at a 1:1 ratio. The maximum match amount is $10,000.

Learn more about Nike’s corporate giving programs!

32. Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club (which is owned by Walmart) has sponsored 0.29% of nonprofits in a database of nonprofits that publicly list their sponsors, placing them at #57 on the list of top corporate sponsors.

“Through both in-kind and cash gifts, Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and Sam’s Club give over $1 billion annually to projects that create opportunity, enhance sustainability and strengthen community.”

– Sam’s Club’s Giving Page

Corporate Giving Information

Sam’s Club matches donations to most nonprofits made by executive-level employees. The maximum match amount is $25,000. A volunteer grant program is also offered.

Learn more about Sam’s Club’s corporate giving programs!

Here is how to ask for a corporate sponsorship.

4. How to Ask for a Corporate Sponsorship

Once you’ve identified corporations with which you want to partner, you still need to approach them. Forming the right kind of ask depends on your goals, who you’re reaching out to, and when you plan to make contact. Here’s a helpful list of strategies to help you make the ask:

Be creative when asking for corporate sponsorships.Be Creative

You can have a company sponsor just about anything—from the portable toilet area to your photo booth. Use aspects of your event that already exist, and turn them into sponsorship perks. Then be sure to position them as excellent sponsorship opportunities to your potential partners.

Be sure to set the right corporate sponsorship levels for your event.Set the Right Sponsorship Levels 

If you have an event with hundreds or thousands of people, make sure your sponsorship levels are high enough (such as $1,000 and up). You don’t want to be priced so high that no one will want to sponsor, but by keeping levels elevated, sponsors will feel like this event is well run, and that you have confidence in what you’re doing.

On the other hand, if you’re planning a smaller event and have difficulty securing a large sponsorship, consider offering a lower sponsorship level with fewer perks. For instance, offer a $100 level, and several smaller businesses that were not interested in the larger sponsorship may be able to take part at this level within their budget.

Explain why you're the perfect fit for a corporate sponsorship.Explain Why You’re a Perfect Fit

As you make your ask, explain how this corporate partnership will contribute to building up the company’s brand. Do your missions align? What will working with your nonprofit help the company achieve in terms of its own goals? Keep these in mind and communicate them as clearly as possible.

Ask about a company's objectives when requesting a corporate sponsorship.Ask About the Company’s Objectives

That said, asking the company directly about their objectives and priorities demonstrates that you’re genuinely interested in bringing value to the partnership. It conveys a level of professionalism that will make you stand out from other organizations.

Tell your organization's story as you ask for corporate sponsorships.Tell a Story

Explain to potential sponsors how their sponsorship and support can directly impact someone as part of your mission. For instance, “$1,000 will help us do X for Y number of people.” In addition, share how last year’s sponsors were able to help your organization accomplish its goals.

Tailor your ask for a corporate sponsorship.Tailor Your Ask

Rather than using one main template and filling in names, make your ask personal and write individualized letters. These should be addressed to a relevant person at the company who is most likely to be receptive to hearing about your cause. This comes back to doing your research on who to ask. Go beyond just marketing contacts and speak to anyone who will sympathize with your mission and also be in a position to create a plan of action!

Leverage in-kind donations as part of a corporate sponsorship.Leverage In-Kind Donations

If a business declines to offer a monetary sponsorship, consider asking for a non-monetary sponsorship instead, such as coupons for free services on event day. You can also request that a portion of their proceeds on the event day be donated back to the organization. A business in the area could serve as a location for the kick-off party, packet pick up, or after-event party.

You can also reach out to companies to provide services you’ll need at the event, such as photography, DJ/entertainment, signage, food, portable toilets, and tent/chair rentals. The value of their goods or services can certainly equate to a sponsorship level.

Use data to back up your corporate sponsorship ask.Leverage Your Data

Back up your corporate sponsorship ask with data! Determine what demographics a sponsor is targeting, and provide them with information about your event that would be relevant. For example, if a company tends to target women aged 50 to 60, let the company know how many people or what percentage of participants attending your event fall into that group.

Timing is important when asking for a corporate sponsorship.Find the Right Timing

The timing of your sponsorship ask is important. A lot of larger companies earmark a specific amount of money each calendar year for charitable giving, so be sure to ask when is the best time for them to consider a sponsorship.

Oftentimes, you have to get your ask in very early to even be considered. Other times, you have to adjust your strategy to the business you’re reaching out to. For instance, if you’re reaching out to an accounting firm during tax season, you’re most likely not top-of-mind, and your request may go unanswered.

Have a plan to propose when asking for a corporate sponsorship.Propose a Plan

Part of crafting an appealing sponsorship ask means outlining your campaign initiatives and success metrics. This consists of defining your fundraising goal and the impact it will have first and foremost. As mentioned before, use numbers and data as support. But also be sure to define your success metrics and use KPI benchmarks that show when you’ve achieved your fundraising goals. Be specific about how your organization plans to meet its objectives, and link this process to ongoing projects, as well.

Draft up a corporate sponsorship agreement when asking for company support.Draft a Sponsorship Agreement

The biggest thing that will demonstrate that you’re professional and committed to the partnership is a sponsorship agreement. It should be written down to outline your goals, expectations, and other deliverables for your organization and the company. It may also be a good idea to include how you’re going to recognize the company for their support, such as through advertising materials, merchandise, or event printouts that show your sponsor’s support in your fundraising efforts.

Be sure to follow up on your corporate sponsorship asks.Follow Up

Haven’t heard back? Don’t give up! Continue to communicate with companies after you’ve reached out with a corporate sponsorship request. Always check back to ensure someone has received your call, email, letter, etc. If not, ask to speak to the appropriate person at the company, and/or resend your ask to that person.

This is how you can cultivate relationships with a corporate sponsor.

5. How to Cultivate Relationships with Corporate Sponsors

Once you’ve secured your corporate sponsorship, cultivating your relationships with those companies can’t fall to the wayside! In addition to presenting your partnership in a professional light, continuing to recognize and work with your sponsor can have a huge impact on your organization.

Here are some effective ways to work with a sponsor after they’ve signed up to support your cause:

Treat Them Like Part of the Team

Treat your corporate sponsor like they're part of the team.

Treat your corporate sponsors like part of the team, because they are part of the team. Many sponsors will feel more engaged and recognize that they’re getting more from their sponsorship if they hear from you often. This doesn’t mean sending them an email every day, but rather, treating them like you would a top fundraising team.

Use the same engagement tools and approaches you use with participants to connect with your sponsors. For fundraising events, offer them a free team captain registration, help them get their page set up, and provide fundraising coaching. The more a sponsor raises and the larger their team, the more exposure they will get. This will in turn make them feel like they’re getting more out of the sponsorship.

Pay Attention to the Little Things

Handwritten letters are other little touch points are great for cultivating relationships with corporate sponsors.

Yes, big perks matter, but the little touch points make a big difference, too. Send a handwritten thank you or a note from a participant or beneficiary of your cause’s work. If the sponsor also fundraised for your campaign, create a top fundraisers certificate that you send to them by mail.

These little touch points show that you acknowledge the importance of their support, yet the cost is minimal, which demonstrates good stewardship by not wasting the sponsor’s money.

Thank Your Sponsors Publicly

Thank your corporate sponsors publicly to show your appreciation.

This has been mentioned already, but it’s worth repeating. Feature sponsor logos and information in your event materials, such as merchandise, pamphlets, and online advertisements and emails. Then, give a shoutout on social media! Tag their company/business page on Facebook, and publicly thank them in a post. You can easily do the same on Twitter, Instagram, etc.

This will help your sponsor gain exposure as a reward for supporting your event, and it will also help solidify your partnership as beneficial and worthwhile in terms of the company’s branding. Most likely, the company will then re-post your original post to their full audience to help your event reach new constituents.

Here are additional corporate giving programs beyond corporate sponsorships.

6. Additional Corporate Giving Programs

It’s obvious by this point that corporate sponsorships are a fantastic source of funding and support for your nonprofit’s events and projects. A corporate sponsorship can help you meet your fundraising goals, continue serving your mission, and create exceptional partnerships with companies that share your values.

But as you assess the value of corporate sponsorships, you should also research other forms of corporate philanthropy. Especially when combined with a corporate partnership, this can maximize your fundraising revenue and keep your participants and supporters engaged.

Some of these top corporate giving programs include matching gifts/fundraising matches, volunteer grants, payroll deductions, and in-kind donations.

Matching Gifts and Fundraising Matches

Corporate matching gifts are the most popular type of corporate giving program. As part of a matching gift program, companies match donations their employees make to eligible nonprofits.

Corporate matching gifts pave the way for increased fundraising dollars, especially during a big fundraising campaign. If you’ve already set up a partnership with a company, their employees will be encouraged to donate to your cause. And if that company offers a corporate matching program, those donations can be doubled, or even tripled!

In terms of your nonprofit’s fundraising event, there are even more ways to build support and revenue. Through fundraising matches, corporate employees who participate in your event (e.g., a walk, run, or bikeathon), can have the money they raise during the event matched by their employer.

While your partnership with a corporation can help bring in a lot of matching gift funds, matching gifts are still an overlooked source of revenue. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness among all of your donors and supporters, whether they’re connected to known sponsors or not.

Consider investing in matching gift software to raise awareness among your supporters. Matching gift software gives donors and event participants direct access to a comprehensive matching gift database that houses information on thousands of companies and their corporate giving programs.

With a matching gift tool like Double the Donation’s, donors can search for their company using a straightforward search tool, which can be easily embedded right on your website. The search tool will then populate with all of the information on their employer’s matching gift program. It’s easy to understand and use, and will lead to even more successful match requests.

Find more matching gift revenue beyond your corporate sponsorship with Double the Donation!

Volunteer Grants

While popular and incredibly effective, matching gifts aren’t the only form of corporate giving that you should look into. 

When you’re running any kind of fundraising event, it’s likely that your team will need the assistance of volunteers to help everything run smoothly. But what if there was a way to turn these already beneficial volunteer hours into another source of fundraising revenue?

There is. And that’s through volunteer grants.

Volunteer grants are another common form of corporate philanthropy in which companies provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees regularly volunteer. And if you fold this into your already established corporate partnerships, you may very well end up with extra funds for your mission!

Ask corporate sponsors to encourage their employees to volunteer at your event—especially if those volunteers offer specific skill sets that can benefit your cause. If the company also offers a volunteer grant program, this means you’ll not only get much-needed help at the event itself, but you’ll also raise more money.

Even if your volunteers don’t come from corporate partners, it’s important to encourage them to look up their eligibility for a volunteer grant. The best part? Many matching gift databases also offer information about volunteer grants! Using a solution like Double the Donation’s, your volunteers can search for their employer using the search tool embedded on your website. From there, the search tool will populate with all the information they need about their company’s volunteer grant program.

Find more volunteer grants beyond your corporate sponsorship with Double the Donation!

Payroll Deductions

Payroll deductions are another great perk of building relationships with companies. Whether the company is a partner of your organization or not, employees can arrange to have a certain amount deducted from their paycheck and automatically donated to a nonprofit of their choice. This recurring donation can make a huge difference for your organization.

In-Kind Donations

As you probably guessed from reading about in-kind sponsorships above, in-kind donations involve companies donating equipment, products, or services, rather than money. This expands beyond your fundraising events. Maybe your team needs marketing or tax assistance. Many companies are willing to provide these services to nonprofits free of charge!

Educating your organization about the various corporate giving programs out there can help boost your fundraising revenue. Pair that with strong corporate partnerships, and you’ll have the resources you need to continue serving your mission!


Corporate sponsorships can have a huge impact on more than just the money your organization brings in. They also affect your organization’s brand recognition, exposure, and credibility. Be sure to choose the right corporate partners for your sponsorships and put in the required research to find the best match. Then, you’ll be ready to tackle anything!

Looking for even more information about corporate philanthropy? Check out these resources below: