When most fundraisers think of corporate giving programs, grants may be the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know that corporations offer a variety of programs to give back to communities where their employees live and work. Collectively, corporate philanthropy accounts for approximately $18.45 billion in annual giving to non-profits, according to the recent Charity Navigator giving statistics.
Check-out the number of ways that corporations spread around their corporate giving dollars. Here are some of the most common:
Dollars for Doers Programs
Some companies offer corporate volunteer grants, also known as Dollars for Doers programs. These programs allow employees to volunteer for their favorite cause and the employer will match their volunteer hours with a financial donation to the nonprofit. The average rate is $10 per each eligible hour spent volunteering but some companies will match at a higher rate. This is great way for companies to enhance their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Pro Bono Services
Are you in need of some sort of expertise for a project but don’t have it in the budget to hire a consultant? Many nonprofits turn to local businesses for pro bono services. My niece works at a major public relations firm in New York City. Her firm offers a certain amount of pro bono hours each year. This year my niece worked on developing a marketing campaign to raise awareness for regional homeless shelters. If you need a specific service, consider pro bono opportunities offered by local companies. Also, the next logical place is to look at your volunteer pool of supporters. My bet is your volunteers come from all types of professional backgrounds. Don’t overlook the professional services your present volunteers can offer.
Paid Release Days
Many companies offer employees a few paid release days each year, allowing an employee or many employees to spend a day or two volunteering during regular work hours. For example, if you have an upcoming golf tournament or run, this is a great way to raise corporate awareness of your organization and event.Find major businesses in your area with paid release days and ask supporters who work at those companies to request a day off to help your organization.
Frequently when I check-out at the Publix grocery store the cashier asks if I would like to donate a $1 to some worthy charity. This is a brilliant idea because most people will gladly add $1 or $5 to their grocery bill to support a good cause. Publix collects for a different charity each month and they raise some serious cash. For example, Publix raised $4.8 million for Special Olympics in January of 2016. Some other top checkout charities are McDonald’s, Walmart/Sam’s club, Ebay, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Safeway.
Matching Gift Programs
Matching gift programs are charitable giving programs established by corporations to encourage philanthropy of their employees. When an employee makes a charitable donation to an eligible nonprofit the company will match an equal or greater dollar amount. Over 23,000 companies offer employee matching gift programs. These range from Fortune 100 companies to small, privately held companies. The employees of these companies represent the “low hanging fruit” of giving, because if you can find the employees and get them to complete the matching gift process then you will have a significant increase in revenue.
Non-Cash Donations (Gifts in Kind)
Although many companies provide cash donations, some companies prefer to give back to communities in other ways. An example would be software companies that donate software to schools. Food banks solicit and rely on large donations from local and national businesses and nonprofit organizations. These are often in the form of surpluses from food manufacturers, retailers and growers. They include items like unsold bread and produce and manufacturing production overruns.
Company Wide Volunteer Days
Could your organization benefit from a large volunteer event? Consider partnering with a local corporation to create a company-wide day of service. I participated in a recent 50-mile bike ride for MS. There were two major corporations with headquarters in South Florida that formed teams of riders and the other employees served as volunteers at the event. It is no surprise that the two companies brought in the most money for the event and besides generating a lot of donations, they provided a lot of volunteers to work the event. They worked registration, handed out water along the way and cheered us on across the finish line. What a great way for a local company to get a lot of PR while helping a great cause.
How can nonprofits take advantage of these programs?
Nonprofits need to be familiar with companies in their area that offer the various types of corporate giving programs. HEPdata’s GiftPlus Online® is a great tool that identifies companies in your area that offer volunteer time match programs. After you identify the companies in your area, you will want to build a strong relationship with these companies and try and recruit their employees for volunteer projects. Make sure your volunteer coordinator clearly understands the benefits of these programs and reminds all volunteers that some companies will match volunteer hours. If you are interested in a 2-week free trial offer of GiftPlus Online, please Hazel Coupar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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