Corporate Giving Today

A successful fundraising plan should contain strategies for all areas of giving. In recent years, corporate giving has become more prominent, and nonprofits can reap the benefits of a growing corporate philanthropic culture.

It definitely is an important area that can’t be overlooked.

Companies now have larger budgets for philanthropy than in the past, and philanthropy has become an integral part of today’s company culture.

Often sales and marketing departments are allocated funds for giving, and employees are asked to participate in volunteer activities, often receiving time off work to partake in their volunteer efforts.

In fact, a key finding of the Giving USA 2013 Annual Report on Philanthropy shows a total of $18.15 billion was given through corporate giving (this includes cash and in-kind contributions through corporate giving programs, as well as grants and gifts from corporate foundations). This is an estimated increase of 9.9 percent (after inflation) from 2011, and makes up 6 percent of total giving.

In the ever-changing world of giving trends, you’ll want to fine-tune your approach strategy in order to maximize the results you’ll receive. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Q&A session at the AFP Atlanta monthly meeting. The panel featured Luis A. Abarca, Jr., a consultant and former Community Relations Director for ING, U.S., and Maurice “Moe” Baker, Manager, Community Relations at Georgia Natural Gas in Atlanta. They both shared insightful tips on “How to Engage the Corporate Community in Today’s Economic Climate.”

Keep these helpful tips in mind as you begin to build relationships with community relations managers, as well as companies that might support your cause:

It’s All About the Metrics

Companies want to see results – in our fast-paced business world, results are a key indicator of a good investment. Let them know how their donation will be invested, be resourceful, and tell your story as best you can.

Good Relationships are Important

In fundraising, relationship building is the key to success. It’s no different when working with corporate foundations. Develop institutional relationships by not only maintaining a connection with the Community Relations Manager, but with the company itself.

Build an Active, Working Board

Make sure your board members are engaged with your mission, and not just there to provide an annual gift. The more knowledge they have, the greater their passion for your cause,  as well as the company. And if they eventually leave the company, there will be a solidly built relationship in place.

Know Your Audience

Corporate giving has become more focused. When you approach an organization, target your “ask” to that company. Get to know their culture, their pillars, and what they stand for. Do your research ahead of time, and target companies that support your specific cause. Always know who you are sending your information to, and try to make an interpersonal connection with them.

Even though we are talking about corporations, people work for corporations, and people give to people!

Non-cash Donations Are Your Friend

Non-cash giving has become a popular corporate trend. With an 11 percent increase this period, growth in non-cash donations by  organizations was a driving force in 2012. Non-cash giving includes donated services or products, equipment or land, and also volunteer time.

Engage Your Donors Year-round

Do this through various avenues, including regular updates and newsletters, social media, and by encouraging volunteer opportunities for corporate employees. Companies want to support their employees’ passions, thus building a community of togetherness in their giving.

All it takes is some strategy work and research to find the right companies to support your organization. The money and the desire to help is there – it’s up to you to show them why you’re the perfect match!