Corporate fundraising is the biggest growth sector within the industry, even eclipsing the phenomenal growth of online giving over the past decade. Whether it is through companies directly or through corporate controlled or funded foundations, companies big and small are leading the way.
The rise of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is a major factor in the growth of corporate philanthropy with almost all established businesses now having some kind of social support for their communities within the guiding principles. The government of India has gone as far as to pass legislation that will oblige profitable companies to invest at least 2% of their profits into CSR directly.

Corporate philanthropy is often expressed through donations and grants but the most compelling area for any non profit should be in kind support. This means anything that a company can do for you apart from direct financial contributions. Often this leaves organisations struggling for ideas on exactly how a corporate can support them meaningfully. We’ve put together some of the many ways that that in kind support can be utilised by non profits:
Donation of expert services such as accounting, marketing or business development: Business’s are able to donate a staff members time to your organisation to help improve your organisation’s effectiveness directly as well advising on how you can improve your processes.
Donation of equipment: From computers to vehicles and food to clothing, most every company has equipment that they will replace over time. Make sure that you and your organisation are aware of when new stock might be brought in and that you’re at the very front of the queue when the old equipment is no longer needed.
Promotion: Most businesses will market their products to their audiences and this is your nonprofits chance to leverage their exsiting advertising campaigns. Just something as simple as including your organisation’s logo can be enough to attract a future donor. Most companies want to be seen to be supporting their local communities and can use their strnegth to achieve significant exposure in the media for your organisation that would be unaffordable otherwise.
Networking: Established businesses will have a well developed network of partners, clients and customers, many of whom could support your organisation to do more. From introducing you to a wealthy individual who you coul approach for a major donation, other companies who you could develop similar relationships with or key decision makers who can help support your organisation, a business’s network is one of its primary assets and one that your nonprofit should work to exploit.
Events: Companies often hold events whether to thank their staff, to support their clients or to promote their products and services. This represents an ideal opportunity for your organisation to get involved in the event and promote the work you are doing to everyone in attendance. You might even be able to ask everyone in attendance to make a small donation to your cause.

Now you know what to do, it is time to select a few companies to make an approach to. You need to identify companies that have a connection to your geographical region (head office or distribution plant in the area) or cause (toy stores have a connection to children’s charities). Once you have identified them you can begin the process of meeting with them, selling them your organisation and discussing with them the different ways that they might be able to support you now and in the future.

One thing to remember when working with a lot of companies is to emphasise what you are giving back to them. Most corporates look for a return on investment even in CSR activities so it is important to highlight how they can use their support for your organisation to further their own business. This may be through positive media coverage, access to your beneficiaries or just simple things like being listed on your website or at your next speech. Cause related marketing, where a business is associated with a popular social cause, is one of the most powerful methods of advertising that exists and they need a nonprofit organisation just like yours to do it.

Have you worked with corporate organisations to secure donations in kind? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.