When it comes to nonprofit fundraising, strategic corporate partnerships⁠—which include matching gift programs, corporate volunteerism, community grants, and more⁠—can go a long way. Your organization receives funds and other resources, while the businesses with which you partner boost their social impact, enhance brand reputation, and improve relations with consumers and employees alike. In other words, you form a mutually beneficial relationship with advantages that stretch far and wide.

But if your team is looking to uncover new partnership opportunities, enhance existing relationships, or refresh your overall strategy, it helps to have a solid foundation of knowledge on the topic.

For example, did you know that matching gifts, which are one of the most accessible forms of corporate giving for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, can actually play a role in unlocking additional forms of corporate support?

That’s where this guide comes in! Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about growing your partnerships with matching gift fundraising at your fingertips. This includes:

  • The Impact of Corporate Philanthropy For Fundraisers
  • The Correlation Between Matching Gifts & Corporate Partnerships
  • How to Identify Corporate Engagement Opportunities
  • 4 Strategies For Pitching & Strengthening Partnerships Effectively

Ready to bring your corporate relationships to new heights? Read on to find out how you can do

The Impact of Corporate Philanthropy For Fundraisers

As a nonprofit fundraiser looking to make the most of corporate philanthropy for your cause, understanding the potential impact of such programs is essential. After all, corporate giving can significantly elevate your revenue-generation efforts and empower your team to forge meaningful, long-term partnerships with the companies that support you.

And corporate philanthropy funding makes up a significant portion of total giving, too! Double the Donation’s corporate giving research shares that businesses contribute an estimated $20 to $26 billion to nonprofit groups annually—with an average of $5 billion being raised through workplace giving programs (like matching gifts!) each year.

Plus, the right partnerships can also help inspire individual giving and overcome dreaded fundraising lulls. How? The same studies report that 84% of donors are more likely to give if a match from their employer is available, while 1 in 3 would contribute a greater amount if matching were to be applied. And it pays off! Fundraisers have found that simply incorporating matching gifts in their donation appeals produces a 71% higher response rate and a 51% higher average donation amount.

The Correlation Between Matching Gifts & Corporate Partnerships

Matching gifts are a powerful facet of corporate giving, amplifying individual donors’ contributions to stretch their impact on your cause. And with more than 20,000 companies⁠—employing over 26 million individuals⁠—offering such programs, it’s a pretty widespread opportunity, too.

To take things even further, a matching gift can also provide your team with a unique connection to a company that may be willing to support your efforts in other ways. After all, it’s already proven to be philanthropic in nature with its employee donation-matching initiative. If your team can demonstrate the value of a broader partnership, you might just have an “in” you can use to initiate a collaborative relationship.

How to Identify Corporate Engagement Opportunities

The first step in building out your organization’s partnership strategy is to identify your team’s greatest prospects in terms of potential corporate donors. To get started, we’ve highlighted a few tips you can use to scale up your donation-matching and broader corporate philanthropy efforts alike.

Employee Matching Gifts

To harness the full potential of matching gifts, understanding how to identify opportunities is crucial. And for that, collecting employment information from donors is a must. We recommend adding an optional field to your donation forms to do just that!

Once you know which companies your donors work for, you can screen for those whose employers offer established matching gift programs. The easiest way to do so is by leveraging dedicated matching gift tools like Double the Donation⁠—which seamlessly integrates with the Click & Pledge platform⁠—to scan against a comprehensive database of matching gift information. From there, the system flags match-eligible donations and triggers automated follow-up outreach that encourages supporters to initiate the match request process.

Standout matching gift companies to be aware of include Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and more.

Broader Corporate Partnerships

The companies your donors work for can also be some of your most valuable prospects in terms of partnerships beyond matching gifts. After all, the best nonprofit-corporate relationships are built on a foundation of mutually beneficial collaboration. By emphasizing your shared audiences (your donors and the businesses’ employees), you can demonstrate the high value that such a relationship can offer. Not to mention, a company with an existing matching gift program has already indicated a predisposition toward philanthropy!

Thus, when you collect employment information as part of the screening process for matching gifts, it can also be repurposed for broader partnership opportunities. And your existing matching gift software can play a role here, too! Double the Donation even offers a “top employers” tool that identifies the companies most often selected by your donor base. From there, you can use the information to narrow down leading prospects and communicate partnership benefits to your business contacts.

From the list, pay particularly close attention to any companies whose values might align well with your organization’s own mission. For example, you might flag a pet supply company that employs a number of donors who support your animal rescue group! Local businesses also make excellent choices, given that those operating in your area are increasingly invested in the well-being of the community.

A few companies to keep an eye out for include Google, Bank of America, State Street Corporation, Costco Wholesale, State Farm Insurance, and more.

4 Strategies For Pitching & Strengthening Partnerships Effectively

Once you’ve identified specific businesses with which you’d like to partner, how will you go about building corporate relationships and ultimately proposing a collaboration? We’ve compiled a few proven practices that can help guide your efforts.

Just remember: for every one of these recommended strategies, it helps to ensure your team is fully equipped with the tools and resources it needs to maximize your organization’s impact.

1. Understand and communicate exactly what type of support you’re seeking.

The term “corporate partnership” can refer to numerous relationships and campaigns that encompass a wide range of possibilities. Matching gifts, employee volunteerism, cause marketing initiatives, and more…just to name a few. In order to keep conversations with prospective partners as smooth and straightforward as possible, you must define exactly what you’re looking for ahead of time. Then, communicate the information effectively!

As you do so, keep in mind that different partnerships require distinct approaches, so it’s important to tailor your pitches to specific needs and objectives. For example, the way you pitch an event sponsorship would likely differ greatly from the way you might pitch a custom matching gift program. Whether seeking financial contributions, in-kind donations, employee engagement, or other forms of support, being precise about your needs enables partners to align their resources with your mission.

2. Make the most of your donors’ corporate connections to get your foot in the door.

When you begin reaching out to the companies in your network⁠—specifically your donors’ employers⁠—be sure you’re leveraging any existing connections available to you. After all, a mutual contact can be the difference between a company welcoming, reviewing, and accepting your proposal and the company disregarding your request altogether.

Plus, you can empower your donors to be invaluable champions for your cause. For example, an individual may be willing to make a warm introduction to their employer’s HR or CSR department or even advocate for a partnership opportunity on your behalf. You even simplify the ask by doing the hard part yourself⁠—and providing supporters with a customizable email template they can use to pitch the idea to their employers!

3. Demonstrate the tangible value and impact of a partnership with your cause.

In order to put your best foot forward when it comes to corporate partnership pitches, it’s critical that you market the opportunity⁠ (and your organization⁠) effectively. And you can do so by emphasizing the various ways that such a relationship can benefit your nonprofit, its beneficiaries, and the overall community⁠. Still, you’ll want to focus greatly on the advantages you can offer the company itself⁠—also known as the value proposition.

Consider providing quantifiable data regarding the measurable outcomes achieved through past partnerships. For example, you might let a prospect know that a previous collaboration resulted in a 20% increase in a partner’s brand visibility, leading to a significant boost in customer engagement and loyalty. These types of insights not only indicate a direct impact on the company’s marketing efforts but also translate into potential additional sales and revenue.

Now, your team has the chance to grow its corporate partnerships in a way that benefits your core mission in big ways. By proactively leveraging your organization’s matching gift fundraising efforts, you can uncover some of your greatest corporate giving opportunities and make a partnership pitch that your prospects can’t refuse.

In the end, you can expect to see significantly improved fundraising outcomes, reinvigorated individual donor relationships, and lasting connections with corporate partners.

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