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How to Use Corporate Philanthropy Across Your Fundraising Strategies


Your nonprofit has its irons in quite a few fundraising fires. You’re probably working on online solicitation, fundraising events, direct mail and traditional appeals, and mobile fundraising, all while trying to compile your donor data and maintain accurate records.

You might be wondering how you can successfully integrate corporate philanthropy into all of these fundraising avenues.

I’m here to tell you how!

Giving through the workplace is one of the best ways for nonprofits to receive unrestricted, sustainable dollars. We’ll go over the top fundraising strategies that your nonprofit likely uses and tell you how you can use corporate philanthropy to give each of those fundraising avenues a little boost.

Each fundraising method can be used in conjunction with a different philanthropic program as well.

We’re going to cover:

  1. Online Donation Pages + Matching Gifts
  2. Fundraising Events + In-Kind Donations
  3. Email Appeals + Fundraising Matches
  4. Direct Mail + Volunteer Grants
  5. CRMs + Corporate Philanthropy Data

Additionally, we’ll go over how you can use the corporate philanthropy data you collect during your fundraising efforts to flesh out the donor profiles in your CRM or donor database.

Let’s get started!

1. Online Donation Pages + Matching Gifts

Online_Donation_Pages.jpgYour online donation page is probably one of the most far-reaching fundraising methods that you use.

Since you’re reaching a variety of donors who work in different industries, you can all but guarantee that some of them will work for companies that match donations.

These companies will usually match contributions to eligible charities at a 1:1 ratio (up to a certain amount), but some go as high as a 4:1 match!

Whenever someone donates via your online donation page, they should be made readily aware of the opportunity to have their donations matched.

Let’s take a look at an example from one nonprofit:


As you can see from this donation page from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, donors know as soon as they reach the form that they might be able to double their initial contribution. There’s even a button that allows donors to look up their own employer’s matching gift program.

It’s important to place matching gift information in a prominent place on your donation page.

It doesn’t do much good if it’s hiding in the sidebar!

For instance, the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta places their matching gift info at the very top of the donation form, before donors even get to the various fields.

You can even place matching gift info on different donation pages (when applicable). That way, donors can have their donations to your capital campaign, peer-to-peer fundraiser, and annual fund all doubled by their employers’ matching gift programs.

Why online donation pages and matching gifts are a great pair: Matching gifts are one of the most common corporate giving programs, and many donors will use your online donation page to give to your organization. You can encourage more people to have their donations doubled when you promote matching gifts directly on your donation form.

2. Fundraising Events + In-Kind Donations

Fundraising_Events.jpgFundraising events aren’t everyday affairs for nonprofits. Typically, organizations will host a large event on an annual basis with smaller, more personal events sprinkled throughout the year.


If you’re looking to incorporate corporate philanthropy into your fundraising events, big or small, look no further than in-kind donations.

Technically, in-kind donations don’t always have to come from companies, but they usually do.

For those of you who don’t know, in-kind donations are products or services that are provided to a nonprofit at no charge.

Some general, more common examples of in-kind donations include:

  • Decorations for fundraising events.
  • Tax or accounting services.
  • The use of office, storage, or event space.
  • Merchandise for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
  • Equipment for a construction project.

As they relate to fundraising events, in-kind donations can take a multitude of forms.

When asking companies for in-kind donations, make sure you explain the mutually beneficial relationship that can come about as a result of in-kind donations being contributed to your event.

You can offer these businesses:

  • Advertisements or promotions at your event.
  • A spot on the sponsors or partners list on your website.
  • A page in your event’s program (when applicable).
  • And more!

In return, your nonprofit could receive any number of in-kind donations for your event, such as:

  • Food and drinks for a gala.
  • Items to sell for a charity auction.
  • Event space for a talent show.
  • T-shirts or water bottles for a fun run.

Why fundraising events and in-kind donations are a great pair: Fundraising events can be expensive endeavors. Your nonprofit can save some money by having necessary items donated by local companies and businesses. In-kind donations to the rescue!

Bonus: Check out these answers to common questions about corporate product giving.

3. Email Appeals + Fundraising Matches

Email_Appeals.jpgFor those of you who don’t know, fundraising matches are a type of corporate giving program that reward employees who participate in fundraising walks, runs, or cycling events.

They’re a lot like matching gift programs, but they go a little farther than a standard donation match.

Companies who have fundraising match programs will match donations made by an employee and any money that employee raises for a marathon, fun run, or cycling event.

This means that any pledges or support donations that your event participants raise from their friends and family through peer-to-peer fundraising will be matched by their employers.

Why put this particular form of corporate philanthropy with emails?

Well, events like marathons and walk-a-thons are commonly tied to peer-to-peer fundraisers, meaning that your participants will likely use emails to ask their family members and friends for donations and support.

If your nonprofit offers templates for these emails, you can let your event participants know that their employers might match the money they raise.

This can be an extremely useful talking point when your participants ask for donations. A single donation can go a lot further when it’s doubled by a fundraising match program.

Why email appeals and fundraising matches are a great pair: Emails are commonly used for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Fundraising matches are often made for employees participating in events tied to peer-to-peer campaigns. Get the word out about fundraising matches by including info about them in your email templates for your donors.

Bonus: Don’t forget that emails can also be used as donation receipts!

4. Direct Mail + Volunteer Grants

Direct_Mail-1.jpgThis pairing might seem a little far-fetched, but just stay with me.

Your volunteers are the ones who are the front lines for your organization. They directly interact with the people, animals, or communities that you serve. They have a different relationship with your nonprofit than a monetary donor does.

They have a more personal connection with your organization.

You shouldn’t be sending them cookie-cutter emails or texting them “Thx 4 volunteering!

No, volunteers deserve something a bit more tangible.

Cue direct mail!

Direct mail is the perfect communications method for talking about volunteer grants.

Volunteer grants are the distant cousin of matching gifts. They reward employees who donate their time at eligible nonprofits by distributing grants to the organization.

Oftentimes, these grants have a minimum threshold of volunteer hours that must be met.

While volunteers are supposed to keep track of these hours and log them with their employers, your nonprofit can send out letters notifying your volunteers of the opportunity to have their volunteer hours rewarded with a grant.

Additionally, using direct mail as a way to promote volunteer grants allows your nonprofit to spell out how volunteer grants typically work and provide examples of companies that offer them.

Why direct mail and volunteer grants are a great pair: Volunteers deserve a little extra attention. Direct mail is the perfect way to personalize your communications a bit more and let your selfless volunteers know about volunteer grants.

Bonus: Read this article on how LinkedIn approaches corporate philanthropy and goes beyond employee giving.

5. CRMs + Corporate Philanthropy Data

CRMs.jpgOnce you have sent out all of your fundraising communications and have encouraged your supporters to look into their employers’ corporate giving programs, it’s time to start looking at the data you collect.

Granted, not every single donor will work for a company that matches donations or offers volunteer grants.

But if you can keep track of those supporters that do work for companies with giving programs, you’ll be able to flesh out the donor profiles in your CRM and tailor future communications.

For instance, if you discover that a certain donor works for a company that matches gifts, you can mention matching gifts in emails, letters, and phone calls down the line. That donor will continue to have their donations matched by their employer, and your organization will receive twice as many contributions!

Alternatively you can leverage the employer information you have about your donors to jump-start conversations with local companies.

Let’s look at a few real-life opportunities:

#1)  Ralph Canada of Loewinsohn Flegle Deary has been a long-time supporter of Retina Foundation of the Southwest. The Retina Foundation of the Southwest hosts an annual Racing for Sight event and if they’re tracking this corporate relationship it would be an excellent opportunity to extend the invite to multiple partners at the firm.

#2) Lloyd Claycomb of United Builders Service is an avid supporter of local Autism organizations in the Phoenix Area. One organization, the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, has worked with Lloyd and his wife to help them organize a private fundraising dinner with a goal of raising over $75,000. It’s a great start but there’s the opportunity to take that relationship a step further and work towards receiving future corporate support for SARRC’s annual Walk Now for Autism event.

We could feature thousands of similar scenarios from philanthropists across the country. We encourage you to track this corporate philanthropy data as not only will you gain a deeper understanding of your donors, but you’ll be better prepared for future fundraising efforts.

Why CRMs and corporate philanthropy data are a great pair: Your CRM houses all of your donor data. You can access everything from basic info to giving history and involvement. Once you have corporate philanthropy data, it only makes sense to use it to flesh out your donor profiles for a more well-rounded CRM.


Well, there you have it: four ways to include corporate philanthropy across your various fundraising strategies. Hopefully they have given you some ideas for other fundraising and corporate giving program pairs!

adam-weinger.pngThe preceding is a guest post by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation. Adam is blending his corporate experience with nonprofit fundraising. After speaking with a host of nonprofit organizations about the need to access matching gift funds in a cost effective way, Double the Donation was born.

Topics: Fundraising Corporate philanthropy Nonprofit CSR Fundraising Strategy Corporate Social Philanthropy