A Quick Guide to Corporate Philanthropy for Nonprofits

This quick guide explores corporate philanthropy for nonprofits and how they can start securing corporate gifts.

As a nonprofit professional, you’re familiar with the struggle of accomplishing mission-centric objectives with limited resources. You’re constantly developing strategies that will help you connect with supporters and maximize your revenue. But there’s a fundraising strategy you may not have considered that can raise more while also engaging the individuals and organizations in your community: corporate philanthropy.

In this quick guide, we’ll cover the top things your nonprofit needs to know to start leveraging corporate philanthropy, including:

  • Corporate Philanthropy Basics
  • Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy
  • How to Secure Corporate Gifts

If you’re looking for a flexible fundraising strategy that can bring in donations while you focus on your other fundraising initiatives, corporate philanthropy is the way to go. Let’s get started!

Corporate Philanthropy Basics

Corporate philanthropy is a form of charitable giving in which for-profit corporations donate to nonprofits. Corporate philanthropy initiatives often include several programs through which companies and their employees make various types of donations. Some of these programs include:

  • Matching gift programs: One popular way for corporations to donate is by giving in response to employees’ contributions. Some companies give the same amount as their employees, while others will double or even triple employee donations! 
  • Volunteer grants: For employees who want to donate their time and efforts, corporations may offer a volunteer grant. Through this program, companies donate monetarily based on the number of hours an employee volunteered with a nonprofit. 
  • Internal fundraising campaigns: Through internal fundraising campaigns, companies raise money on behalf of your nonprofit. Company leaders will market your nonprofit’s mission to employees and collect donations over a set period of time. At the end of the fundraiser, your nonprofit will receive all the money raised during the campaign.
  • In-kind donations: Gifts of goods and services are referred to as in-kind donations. Companies may donate by offering their products or services to nonprofits for free. For example, a graphic design company may create a logo for a nonprofit’s rebranding at no cost.

Although there are numerous types of corporate philanthropy programs, they all have one thing in common: the corporations do the fundraising. Rather than requiring nonprofits to apply for a grant to receive corporate funding, Double the Donation’s guide to corporate social responsibility (CSR) explains that philanthropic endeavors simplify the giving process by allowing corporations to give directly to the organization. 

Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

While the obvious benefits of corporate giving programs are that they help raise awareness and funds for your nonprofit, realizing the true potential impact of corporate philanthropy can help your organization narrow its appeals and know what to expect. Consider the implications of the following statistics:

  • On average, corporations give between $20 and $26 billion to nonprofits annually, and this number continues to grow.
  • Nearly 77 million Americans donate their time, talents, and energy through volunteerism.
  • 84% of donors, or as Convergent Nonprofit Solutions refers to them, investors, are more likely to donate if a match is available. Additionally, one in three investors would give a larger donation if a match was offered.

Furthermore, philanthropic endeavors can also benefit corporations. 71% of employees consider giving and volunteering essential to a positive workplace culture, meaning corporate philanthropy can help engage employees. Also, businesses that invest in charitable giving are often seen as socially responsible by their communities, making it a surefire way to boost a company’s reputation. 

As you pursue gifts from corporations, be sure to incentivize involvement by sharing the positive impact philanthropy could have on potential partners. For example, you might ask a corporation to host an internal fundraising campaign on behalf of your nonprofit. In your appeal, explain how the initiative could engage employees and help to support an important cause.

How to Secure Corporate Gifts

Now that you know what corporate philanthropy is and why it’s important, it’s time to start securing gifts! Begin by refining your communications, such as content on your nonprofit’s website, to highlight your impact and explain why your organization is worthy of corporate support. Then, pursue corporate gifts by following these steps:

  1. Educate existing supporters. You may already have a network of loyal supporters who donate to your organization frequently. Now, imagine if their recurring gifts were doubled or if their volunteer time also came with a monetary donation! Teach these investors about corporate philanthropy and encourage them to check into their employers’ policies. That way, they’ll be able to maximize their impact on your organization and your nonprofit won’t miss out on corporate gifts.
  2. Identify potential partners. Look for corporate connections within your nonprofit’s network. For example, do your long-time volunteers own or work at local businesses that might be willing to donate? Make a list of potential corporate partners and research their existing corporate philanthropy efforts as well as their mission statements. That way, you can reach out directly to these corporations with personalized messages that make a connection between your mission and the company’s.
  3. Promote involvement opportunities. As shown in the statistics above, billions of dollars are raised through corporate philanthropy each year, meaning there are many corporations willing to donate. However, not every company with a CSR program knows about your nonprofit. Draw attention to involvement information on your website, communicating the need for a long-term partnership and the various ways to get involved. Consider leveraging the Google Ad Grant to drive even more traffic to your site, and make sure your other communication channels point back to your website as well.

Remember, the purpose of pursuing corporate gifts is ultimately to secure long-term support. Position your appeals and involvement opportunities as a partnership, highlighting the benefits that a corporation could see from a long-term engagement rather than a one-time gift. 

For example, you might explain that investing in corporate sponsorships would give the corporation repeated brand exposure through several fundraising campaigns. After a corporation has committed to long-term support, you can deepen your connection with the sponsor by drawing attention to their brand in different ways, such as by adding their logo to a page on your website about your nonprofit’s partners. 


To ensure you receive corporate support, offer several ways for businesses to get involved. For example, NXUnite’s guide to corporate sponsorships recommends setting various levels of sponsorship. That way, you can engage both large and small businesses by setting reasonable but confident prices.

Ultimately, the amount contributed will be up to the corporations. However, it’s your responsibility to start engaging these companies and their employees! As you build and strengthen relationships with local businesses (and beyond), your nonprofit will reap the benefits of corporate philanthropy.

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