How to Get Donations from Companies- Everything You Need to Know about Getting Companies and Businesses to Donate to Your Nonprofit

How to Get Donations from Companies- Everything You Need to Know about Getting Companies and Businesses to Donate to Your Nonprofit

What You Need to Learn About Corporate Giving and CSR 

There is currently so much need in our culture that corporations and business owners have more responsibilities than simply running their companies and generating revenue. They have a social obligation to run their businesses ethically and responsibly and in a way that betters the community they serve. This is known as CSR.

Corporate Social Responsibility (or CSR) is a means to ensure companies operate in a way that enhances society and the environment instead of negatively impacting them. You’ve probably noticed some common CSR initiatives without even realizing them. A few common philanthropic trends include:

· Employing diverse hiring practices

· Providing grants for employee volunteer hours

· Changing production, manufacturing, or purchasing processes to benefit people and the environment

· Giving cash or in-kind goods to nonprofits

If you are part of a nonprofit organization, this evolution of modern businesses into committed CSR initiatives is good news for you. Why? Because you and your organization could be the beneficiaries of CSR practices! We know generating funds for your nonprofit is a never-ending battle. Asking high-level businessmen for money is probably the last thing you want to do. But what if you could approach a CEO or manager with confidence knowing you aren’t the only one who would benefit from their donations to your mission?

It's true! Philanthropic trends like donating to charities and better business practices that enhance the community and the earth aren’t just for the beneficiaries. They positively impact the company itself. A useful product or handy service is valuable to consumers. But honestly, the market is saturated, and useful products are a dime a dozen. But a company that pours its profits back into the community it serves stands out. It has a positive rapport with its customers and employees. They have something to set them apart from their competitors. So, the next time you’re hesitant to reach out to a business for support, remember they have something to gain from the partnership as well.

Identifying and Researching Potential Corporate Donors 

Once you conquer your initial fears of asking businesses for donations, it’s time to move on to step two: finding aligned corporate donors. Targeting businesses and crafting proposals is time-consuming and you don’t want to ask just anyone. By narrowing down businesses that share your vision for a specific charity, you will make better use of your time and increase your chances of striking a life-long, lucrative business relationship.

There is no shortage of businesses in the world. So, how does a nonprofit organization go about narrowing down the right one to approach for donations? Is it a guessing game? Are you limited to the ones in your backyard? Thanks to the internet, asking for corporate donations isn’t a guessing game and you aren’t limited by your location!

In our digital age, there is no shortage of advanced research strategies for corporate donations. To make your hunt for donors a little simpler, we’re going to share a few of our favorites below.

  1. iWave- Nonprofit organizations use iWave to identify, qualify, and retain donors to raise more major gifts. iWave’s intuitive and easy-to-use solutions give access to the industry’s highest quality wealth and philanthropic information so you can determine who to ask, how much to ask for, and when to ask.

iWave allows you to:

·   Search over 40 data sources simultaneously. Search a single name across all of iWave’s wealth, philanthropic, and biographical data providers simultaneously— with just one click. Or focus your search by drilling down into any of iWave’s premium data sources and using custom parameters to narrow down your search results.

·   Generate prospect profiles in seconds. Generating a comprehensive profile is easy. No matter which search option you use, you can use our prospect research software to generate a prospect profile with the click of a button. Plus, automatically keep your profile up-to-date with the latest intelligence by setting a Smart Alert.

·   Uncover detailed foundation and company information. Search seven datasets simultaneously for detailed information about a foundation or company. You can find essential prospecting details such as employee data including executives, contact information, gift matching programs, and more.

·   Keep up-to-date on alumni. Are you looking for an easy way to research and find alumni? Simply select an Alma Mater in 360search and hit search to instantly discover new sets of alumni with a proven affinity to your cause.

Schedule a demo today to see if iWave is right for you!

2. Blackbaud. Blackbaud provides nonprofit analytics and data intelligence solutions that connect charities with their ideal business. Take the guesswork out of your mission with insights that drive action and results.

Blackbaud’s unique Intelligence for Good™ approach brings together big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and expertise to move your mission forward. Only Blackbaud offers data insights powered by the world’s largest philanthropic data set – with billions of records on supporter engagement, growing every day – and unparalleled expertise driven by our team of Social Good Scientists™.

With the market’s most advanced data intelligence capabilities created specifically for social good, Blackbaud helps you:

  • Eliminate waste and streamline processes
  • Acquire new supporters and donors
  • Connect with constituents and build stronger relationships
  • Optimize fundraising resources to save time and improve ROI
  • Understand your fundraising opportunity and performance

Request a free demo today! They’ll reach out to understand your unique needs and schedule your customized demo.

3. Nexis. Enhanced donor research capabilities of Nexis for Development Professionals can help you:

  • Uncover hard-to-find donor contact information with their unmatched Public Records Collection*
  • Track charitable giving trends of corporations and foundations with personalized alerts
  • Find organic opportunities to connect with donors, such as career changes or special achievements
  • Access comprehensive company and executive information to capitalize on existing relationships with new donor prospects
  • See relationships between influential donors, alumni, and other individuals with high donor potential
  • Combine the results of donor wealth screening with other metrics to understand how much to ask for, when, and how

 Try a custom demo of Nexis for Development Professionals today!


Crafting Persuasive Proposals to Get Donations 

Tracking down potential donors is possibly the most tedious step of the donor-hunting process, and crafting a persuasive proposal is the most important. Before your donor meets you and experiences your smiling face and ardor for your mission, they’ll read your proposal. That means you have to pour as much of yourself onto the paper as possible so they see your heart, not just your request. Proposals can range from dull words on a page to a heartwarming letter describing the people you serve and the impact a dollar can make. You want your proposal to be the latter, and we’re going to help you make it so.

Before you start drafting your donation proposal, here are a few elements to keep in mind:

· Follow the grantmaker’s guidelines. Most grantmakers will give clear instructions for how grants should be structured, formatted, and submitted. You’ll do well to follow their guidelines strictly. Failure to do so could make you appear sloppy and unorganized at best and disrespectful at worst. Don’t risk having your proposal thrown away on a technicality. Follow the instructions.

· Make it personal. This requires a bit of research, but it’ll pay off when the grantmaker feels like they’re reading the letter of a close friend rather than a stranger from the internet. The key to making your application personal is leaning into the interest you and the grantmaker share. If the business you are applying to is passionate about rights for vulnerable members of society and you are asking for funding for an animal shelter, paint them a mental picture of the animals who need their help. Describe the peril the animals experience and how their funding could rescue the helpless creatures.

· Make your proposal crystal clear. From the needs stated section to your budget plans, the grantmaker needs to know exactly who you are, what you’re asking for, and how you intend to use their money. The trouble with writing is sometimes the information that’s in our heads doesn’t make it to the paper. After you draft your proposal, it might be helpful to bring in an outsider to proofread it before you submit. A proofreader will be able to catch any confusing elements and grammatical errors that slip through the cracks.

Now we’d like to share a proposal template to take the guesswork out of drafting a compelling proposal. Remember, each grantmaker will have their own requirements and preferences, but here are the bones of what you’ll need:

  1. Title page. Your title page should include the title of the proposal, the name of the principal investigator (person in charge of the project), the name of your nonprofit, and contact information (physical address, email address, phone number, fax number).
  2. Introduction. This is where you introduce your organization and its mission. Describe how your organization helps the community it serves. Explain the issue your project wishes to tackle with the donation it’s seeking. This is a great place to explain how the issue is relevant to the grantmaker’s shared interest.
  3. Needs statement. The needs statement is a detailed explanation of the problem you wish to solve and how the donation money would help. To make your case more credible, include facts and figures. For instance, if you are seeking funding for an animal shelter, provide statistics of how many animals were picked up by animal control, how many accidents were caused by stray animals, how many animals were re-homed, and how many were euthanized. It’s hard to argue with cold, hard facts.
  4. Goals and objectives. Outline the goals and objectives of your project including clear, tangible steps you plan to take and the time in which you plan to do it. Include how achieving these goals will solve your needs statement.
  5. Program description. Explain the project or program you plan to implement using the donation. How exactly do you plan to achieve your goals and solve your community’s problems? Have you successfully done something similar in the past? What makes your project unique?
  6. Target audience/beneficiaries. This is a great place to be personal. Describe the people/community who will benefit from your project. Explain how your project will positively impact the beneficiaries. If you have testimonials of people who have been negatively impacted by the problem you are trying to solve, include them. The grantmakers are human, after all, and you can never underestimate the power of an emotional response.
  7. Budget. In this section, you want to provide a detailed budget for your project. Break down the estimated cost of each component. Be honest and realistic about how much everything will cost.
  8. Funding request.  Here’s where you state the amount of money you are requesting from the donor. Explain how this money would allow you to solve the problem at hand and impact the community.
  9. Sustainability. Explain how the donor's contribution will sustain the community beyond the project’s completion. Donors want to know their contribution is a long-term investment. Tell them how your project is part of the bigger picture of your mission.
  10. Success measurement. Describe how you plan to measure the success metrics of your project. Tell the donor how you plan to keep them informed about the impact their donation made.
  11. Nonprofit background. This is the place to (humbly) brag about your nonprofit, its mission, and the impact you’ve already made. Build credibility through success stories, testimonials, and anything else that will set you apart from other applicants.
  12. Appendices. Here you can include any information that supports your proposal. Financial statements, letters of recommendation, and any supporting research are great things to include.

Developing and Sustaining Corporate Donor Relationships: How to Get the Most out of Your Partnership

Your relationship with a donor doesn’t end when you receive their contribution. It’s only the beginning! The beginning of a (hopefully) long and prosperous relationship filled with communication and appreciation. If you think your donors don’t want to hear from you after a courteous “thank you for your generosity,” you might be surprised to learn that regular contact actually increases the chances of future donations and participation. Communication doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a stewardship plan, and we’re going to help you make one.

A donor stewardship program is how nonprofits plan policies and strategies for interacting with donors during and after the donation process. A successful donor stewardship plan should include everything from donor recognition programs to cultivation emails. Regular communication with donors helps them know you value their contribution to your organization.

A good first step in establishing a donor stewardship plan is to sort your donors into categories. A few categories to consider are new donors, one-time donors, donors who give small, recurring donations, donors who give big contributions, and donors who give their time at fundraising events. When you categorize your donors, you can implement strategies for communicating with each people group and no contribution will go unnoticed. In a perfect world with unlimited resources, you could personally reach out to each donor and establish a one-on-one relationship, but we’re guessing you don’t have the manpower for something like that. Instead, you can set up automated (but personal) emails, letters, and even phone calls to communicate with each donor.

In addition to a donor stewardship plan, it’s a good idea to make a plan for donor recognition. Donor recognition ensures your donor's contributions don’t go unnoticed. Giving hard-earned money isn’t easy, even when it’s for a good cause. Imagine going out on a limb and donating any amount of money, only for a charity to not extend a simple ‘thank you.’ Many people would be hesitant to donate in the future.

Donor recognition not only increases donor retention but also motivates existing donors to donate again or donate more. Plus, it can attract new donors! So, after you’ve secured a corporate donor and sorted them into the appropriate category of your donor stewardship plan, you’ll want to recognize their contribution. Depending on the size of the donation, this could be anything from a handwritten note to a listing on your website or even a byline in your newsletter. It’s up to you, just make sure your recognition strategy is intentional and personal.

Leveraging Digital Tools to Attract Donations From Companies

Applying for donations isn’t the only way to receive a gift or grant from corporations. Thanks to social media and digital tools for fundraising, you could skip the slush pile of applications and attract corporate donors all on your own. All you need is an effective strategy and a team member who knows their way around a computer.

One way to utilize technology for your organization is by creating social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are fast, free, and personal ways to connect directly to your audience and reach potential donors, and it’s probably simpler than you think. All you have to do is share:

  • Share about your charity- what it is, what you’re passionate about, and who you’re serving.
  • Share about the impact you’re making. Has your nonprofit built something? Served someone? Solved a great need in the community? Share it on social media.
  • Share testimonials. When you help someone, they’re going to be eager to share their story. Social media is a great place to get the word out.
  • Share about upcoming events. People who share your passion want to get involved. Tell the community about upcoming events and how they can help you reach your goals.
  • Share requests and needs. People don’t know what you need unless you ask. Do you need a monetary gift? Volunteers? Physical items? Ask for it on social media and you’ll be surprised by the willingness to give.

Maintaining active social media accounts can grab the attention of corporations who haven’t considered offering grants and donations to valuable organizations like yours. When they see how hard you’re working to serve your community, and especially if they share a common interest, they’ll be eager to reach out and help.

In addition to social media, you could consider hosting an online fundraiser. Explore digital fundraising platforms (like PayBee!) to host an exciting online gala or silent auction without the hassle of gaining permits and gathering volunteers. The PayBee staff will handle everything. Plus, their donor software will organize all the participant's information so you can contact them and recognize each gift properly.

An online fundraiser is the perfect thing to share on your social media platform. Share information about the event in the weeks leading up to your event. Tell your followers what you are raising money for and how they can get involved. Then, on the day of the event, make sure to share the link. You’ll be attracting corporate donors in no time.

Tax Implications For Donations to Nonprofits 

As with all business dealings, there are tax benefits and implications to consider with corporate donations. Nonprofits that are approved for tax-exempt status by the IRS do not have to pay taxes on a company’s financial gift, but they do have to report the donation on their taxes, so make sure you keep proper records of every dollar you receive.

Aside from the good feeling that accompanies donating to a worthy cause, there are tax benefits to giving to charity. As long as the organization is approved for tax-exempt status by the IRS, financial support can be written off as a tax deduction. To claim your donation, you’ll need the proper documentation of what the nonprofit is and how much you donated. So, when you donate, make sure you get a detailed receipt.

Legal Considerations for Businesses that Donate to Nonprofits

Before you go throwing money into anything claiming to be a nonprofit, take a moment to do some research. You need to make sure the charity you are considering is really a 501(c)(3) organization. The nonprofit should have proper documentation to prove its reputability. Failure to confirm the legitimacy of a nonprofit before donating could have legal consequences few businesses can afford. Once you’ve confirmed the legitimacy of the nonprofit, make sure you get a detailed receipt and log the donation properly with your accountant. Then, all you have to do is present the documentation at tax time and you will receive a tax break!

FAQs: Common Questions 

How do I identify companies likely to donate to my cause?

Finding companies who share your nonprofit's passion is easier than you think. All you need is  software like iWave or Blackbaud to help you narrow your search and make the application process a breeze. 

What information should be included in a donation request proposal to a company?

While each company will have its own requirements for a proposal request, the bones of each submission should include information about your nonprofit (history, mission, contact info.), what you are seeking money for, how much money you need, how you intend to use each dollar, and a plan for how this investment will serve your audience for years to come.

How can I effectively communicate with potential corporate donors?

What you need is a stewardship strategy! A stewardship strategy (as discussed above) will help you maintain long-lasting relationships with donors that make them feel seen and appreciated.

What are the best strategies for building long-term relationships with corporate donors?

It's wise to invest in relationships with your donors, but you probably don't have the resources for one-on-one relationships. A stewardship strategy will help you stay in contact via email, phone calls, and letters, and a donor recognition program will show your appreciation for each dollar received. When your donors feel seen and appreciated, they are more likely to stick around and donate in the future.

How can technology and social media be used to attract corporate donations?

Formal donation requests aren't the only way to reach corporate donors. Utilizing social media is a fast, free way to tell the world who you are and who you serve. Be diligent in updating your platforms with recent news and corporate donors won't be able to resist joining in.

 Maximizing Your Nonprofit’s Corporate Donation Strategies 

We hope this article has put to rest any fears you may have about approaching businesses to get donations. While it will take some time and teamwork, you can identify corporate donors who share your passion and would be likely to donate to a cause like yours. Then, you can submit an irresistible proposal, brag about recent events on your social media page, and wait for the business donations to roll in.

If this still seems daunting, consider reaching out to a more established nonprofit for advice. They have likely been through the application process before and can review your strategy. Whatever you choose, know you are on your way to long-lasting relationships with business owners who want to see you succeed in your mission.

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Jordan Thompson

Jordan is an author and copywriter in the home and family niche. Connect with her on Instagram (https://instagram.com/jordanthompsonauthor?igshid=MzNlNGNkZWQ4Mg== ) and Indeed (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-thompson-0916a1262). For copywriting inquiries contact her at jordanthompsonwrites@gmail.com.

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