Nonprofits use various strategies to secure enough revenue for their missions. They may create membership programs, promote recurring gifts, or conduct fundraisers on social media. Or, they might tap into the power of corporate partnerships.
According to Double the Donation, “94% of major US corporations plan to heighten or maintain their charitable giving in the next few years.” This means it’s a great time to team up with a corporation for a charitable partnership!
Corporate philanthropy is becoming more of a priority among businesses. So securing nonprofit corporate partnerships has also become popular among mission-driven organizations.
In this guide, we’ll cover the essentials you need to know about corporate partnerships for nonprofits. We’ll walk through what they are, their benefits, and how organizations can secure them.
What are Nonprofit Corporate Partnerships?
Nonprofit corporate partnerships are when your organization teams up with a corporation for a mutually beneficial relationship. The company could help by donating funds or in-kind donations (non-cash donations) to help further your mission.
The corporation you’re partnering with will also benefit in various ways, such as increased brand recognition and a boost to its reputation within your community. You can team up for a long period of time, or just for one event or project. Every corporate partnership will be different.
Types of Nonprofit Corporate Partnerships
Here are some common types of nonprofit corporate partnerships, along with tips for making the most of these opportunities:
- Corporate Sponsorships. Sponsorships are what most people think of first when they think about corporate partnerships. Companies may sponsor a nonprofit’s upcoming event or program in exchange for featuring their name and logo on marketing materials and at the event. You can use event management software to manage sponsorships and make sure everything runs smoothly.
- Matching Gift Programs. Businesses may choose to match donations that their employees make online through a nonprofit’s donation page. Most are at a 1:1 ratio, though some can go as high as 4:1. Make sure you choose an online payment service that supports this and makes it easy.
- Employee Volunteering. Many companies have workplace volunteering programs. These encourage employees to lend their time and skills to support nonprofits and make a difference in their communities. Consider investing in volunteer management software to help ensure that corporate volunteers have a fulfilling experience and continue to support your nonprofit for the long term.
- In-Kind Donations. Companies can also provide non-financial support, such as goods or services, to nonprofits. This helps your organization cut down on expenses.
- Grants. Some corporations may have grantmaking programs. These can provide funds to nonprofits that apply. To find and secure grants, conduct research into companies that have similar missions and values to your nonprofit.
Evaluate your nonprofit’s specific needs and priorities to determine which types of corporate partnerships would benefit your organization the most.
Benefits of Corporate Partnerships for Nonprofits
There are many reasons for a nonprofit to seek out a corporate partnership. Here are a few that you might want to consider:
- Secure more revenue. Often the first reason an organization will look into a corporate partnership is to secure more revenue. Every organization comes with expenses and requires revenue to run. Corporate partnerships can go a long way in supporting any nonprofit.
- Broaden your reach. With a large corporation backing you and shouting you out on social media, your message will reach more people. This is a great way to get more people interested in your mission and receive more donations.
- Recruit more supporters. With more people hearing about your mission, you can gain more interest, donors, volunteers, and members for your membership program. With increased members, you can consider using a professional website builder. This can make their experience as smooth and meaningful as possible.
- Build more connections in the community. Working with a business that serves the same audience or community as your nonprofit is beneficial for both parties. A successful partnership can lead to more partnership opportunities with others in the community.
Your nonprofit devotes significant time, energy, and resources to fulfill its mission every day. A corporate partnership can help you amplify your impact on the community.
Benefits of Corporate Partnerships for Businesses
A corporate partnership should be a mutually beneficial relationship—that means both parties benefit. Here are a few ways that these partnerships can benefit corporations:
- Enhance their reputation. Just as your nonprofit can build more connections in the community through a partnership, so can the business you’re partnering with. They can get a boost to their reputation for their dedication to improving the community.
- Access marketing opportunities. Nonprofits will often feature their corporate partners’ logos on their websites and other marketing materials. This helps broaden their reach and increase their brand recognition.
- Boost employee engagement. Giving their employees volunteering programs and other opportunities to help their community can boost employee engagement by helping them feel purposeful in their roles.
- Reach more potential customers. Businesses can reach a wider audience by having their logos on your website or in event materials. Since 77% of consumers want to purchase from companies with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, partnerships are an effective way for companies to attract more socially conscious customers.
Be sure to highlight these benefits when you approach companies about starting a partnership. This increases the likelihood that they’ll be interested in building a long-term relationship with your nonprofit.
How to Secure a Nonprofit Corporate Partnership
Finding a good match is important to building a strong partnership. Here are some tips to keep in mind to secure a corporate partnership:
Consider your nonprofit’s specific needs.
There are numerous ways that your nonprofit can benefit from a corporate partnership. Before you begin your search, narrow down exactly what type of support you expect to gain from your partner. Think about your most pressing goals and needs. For instance, you might be looking for:
- Funding to launch a new program.
- Sponsors for your annual gala.
- Aid in responding to an emergency or disaster.
- Ways to expand your reach and acquire new donors.
- Volunteers to streamline your operations.
Determining your specific goals upfront will set your proposal and communications with potential corporate partners up for success.
Research potential corporate partners.
Take the time to identify potential companies in your community that could be suitable partners with your nonprofit. Consider the following factors:
- Mission alignment
- Shared values
- History of CSR
For example, a hunger relief nonprofit might consider local grocery stores and restaurants as ideal corporate partners. Check with your board and staff members to determine whether they have any existing connections that you can build upon.
Develop a proposal.
Prepare to reach out to potential corporate partners by crafting a thorough proposal that outlines your mission and goals, emphasizing how they align with the company’s values. Additionally, highlight your past impact and accomplishments so they’re aware of just how much of a difference you’re making in the community.
Remember that an effective corporate partnership is a win-win for both parties involved. Communicate exactly how the partnership can help the company achieve its goals as well.
Reach out to potential partners.
Send your nonprofit’s proposal out to potential partners and start building meaningful relationships by meeting up with representatives from interested companies in person. Provide any additional information and documentation that they may require to make a decision, including your financial statements, case studies, and testimonials.
Take the opportunity to work out details, such as the resources you’d like to receive from the partner and how you’ll recognize them for their support.
Maintain communication and express appreciation.
After putting time and effort into securing a corporate partner, pave the way for a long-lasting relationship through transparency and open communication. Share the impact of their contributions. Express your appreciation throughout the partnership to show just how much you value their support. Some basic ways you can accomplish this include:
- Posting social media shoutouts.
- Sending thank-you eCards.
- Featuring the company on your marketing materials.
- Spotlighting the company on your website.
Additionally, consider sending out surveys to collect feedback from your corporate partner. In doing so, you’ll be able to glean insights that you can use to improve their experience moving forward.
Corporate partnerships are mutually beneficial relationships. The work doesn’t stop after securing a nonprofit corporate partnership. It’s important to continue cultivating the relationship so that both parties can benefit from it for years to come.
With these tips, your next corporate partnership is sure to be a success!