5 Corporate Philanthropy Roadblocks—and How to Solve Them

September 14, 2022 | Ellen Cox
5 Corporate Philanthropy Roadblocks—And How to Solve Them

Corporate philanthropy encompasses mutually beneficial relationships between nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses. This typically involves donations of money, time, and/or resources from corporations to charitable causes.

Sounds like a win-win situation, right? It is⁠—especially when you consider that a company’s employees and consumers also benefit by knowing they’re supporting socially responsible brands. And that the future of corporate giving is increasingly trending toward employee-centric giving programs, such as matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other forms of workplace giving.

More and more organizations are beginning to emphasize corporate fundraising efforts in their overall nonprofit strategies. However, most nonprofits continue to drastically underutilize available philanthropy opportunities, resulting in billions of corporate dollars being left on the table each year.

Here are five of the most significant reasons why this occurs:

  1. Lack of awareness of corporate philanthropy programs
  2. Lack of access to corporate philanthropy program guidelines
  3. Lack of knowledge of corporate philanthropy participation processes
  4. Lack of corporate philanthropy follow-ups and reminders
  5. Lack of organization time and resources to devote to corporate philanthropy

In this guide, we’ll explore the above roadblocks that nonprofits face, along with our suggested solutions for each. In the end, your team should be ready to form a plan designed to help collect those unclaimed corporate dollars for your mission.

Let’s begin!

1. Lack of awareness of corporate philanthropy programs

The Roadblock

One of the biggest challenges facing optimal corporate philanthropy is a significant lack of awareness of the opportunities at hand. This is true on the side of the nonprofit itself as well as the organization’s dedicated supporters⁠—who often play a huge role in corporate and workplace giving fundraising success.

For instance, it’s reported that 78 percent of eligible nonprofit donors have no idea that their employer offers a corporate gift-matching program. And when these individuals are unaware of the programs’ existence, they’re ultimately unable to complete the steps required for securing a company donation.

And that’s just one example! Similar scenarios can be seen regarding other corporate giving initiatives such as volunteer grants, donation stipends, and more.

The Solution

Take a proactive approach when it comes to informing both nonprofit supporters as well as your internal fundraising team of corporate (and particularly workplace) philanthropy plans. Make sure to establish strategic corporate giving strategies that involve a significant amount of awareness marketing.

This should likely include⁠—but not be limited to⁠—hosting ample corporate philanthropy content on your nonprofit website, sharing educational resources on your organization’s favorite social media platforms, and sending out information in the form of email blasts, digital newsletters, and more.

Once nonprofit supporters are aware of employee corporate giving offerings in the first place, they’ll often become interested in whether they are eligible to participate in such a program.

2. Lack of access to corporate philanthropy program guidelines

The Roadblock

Every company that offers a workplace giving program (or several!) should provide its employees with a set of guidelines regarding participation eligibility criteria.

For matching gifts, these typically include matchable donation minimum and maximum amounts and a match ratio to determine the match size. Volunteer grants, on the other hand, may require a particular threshold of eligible hours volunteered, along with the stipend or grant size offered.

Additionally, both types of programs often incorporate factors like the receiving organization or mission, type of employee requesting a match (full-time, part-time, retired, etc.), and participation deadline by which the request must be made.

However, these criteria are often not communicated by the companies to their employees in the most effective ways. And if an employee is unsure how to locate eligibility guidelines, they have no way of knowing if their support even qualifies for corporate funding.

The Solution

If the problem is that your donors don’t know whether they’re eligible to participate in corporate giving based on their employers’ giving guidelines, you’ll want to overcome the concern by guiding each individual directly to their company’s eligibility criteria. After all, the less research required of a donor, the more likely they are to identify their status and follow through with the request.

But your organization doesn’t want to have to conduct all that manual research, either. The best solution is to equip your team with a robust (and continuously updated) corporate giving database. An individual⁠—donors and fundraisers alike⁠—can simply begin typing a company name in a database search tool, which is automatically populated with the corporation’s complete giving program guidelines.

3. Lack of knowledge of corporate philanthropy participation processes

The Roadblock

Now, your donors understand the value of corporate philanthropy and have even been informed of their own role in the importance of workplace giving. But when it comes to the actual process involved, it’s still a big question mark for many match-eligible supporters.

When donors don’t know what goes into a corporate match request process, they can often mistakenly believe that it will be significantly more difficult and time-consuming than it really is, and they have no idea where to start.

Ultimately, this causes many donors to fail to pursue corporate giving opportunities altogether.

The Solution

The best thing you can do to mitigate this challenge is to overcome the concern before it even arises. And that means proactively communicating with donors about the steps involved in the corporate philanthropy process.

Since, again, the process can differ greatly from one company to another, it’s important to provide donors with step-by-step instructions specific to their employer whenever possible. Luckily, your aforementioned matching gift company database can come in handy here as well!

When a donor conducts a search of their employer’s giving programs using the search tool, most results populate with some form of instructions for participation. This might include:

  • Direct links to the company’s workplace giving portal or other online forms
  • Downloadable PDF and paper forms
  • Name and contact information for someone within the company who can answer any questions regarding program participation

Plus, you can even inform donors that requesting participation in most companies’ workplace giving programs can be completed in just a few minutes!

4. Lack of corporate philanthropy follow-ups and reminders

The Roadblock

Even when donors are aware of the existence of corporate giving programs, have been informed of their own eligibility, and are instructed on how to participate, they can still simply forget to follow through.

This happens even to donors who have all intentions of completing the process. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and many potential corporate giving opportunities simply get lost.

The Solution

Be sure to keep in touch with supporters of your organization whom you’ve flagged as likely eligible for corporate giving participation. For matching gift donors, that might mean making a note of a donation that meets a company’s eligibility criteria. For volunteer grants, it may take place when a dedicated volunteer reaches a certain number of hours in the year.

After the donation, volunteer event, or other qualifying engagement occurs, we recommend following up with your nonprofit’s supporters to remind them about their employers’ workplace giving opportunities.

Here’s what this can look like:

  • For match-eligible donors: “Joshua, thank you for your generous donation of $500 to Atlanta University. Gifts like yours are what help us keep our mission alive. We’ve also noticed that your donation is likely eligible for a corporate match through your employer⁠! Click this link to begin the matching process.”
  • For volunteer grants: “Brenda, thank you for regularly volunteering your time with the Cat Rescue Club. Did you know that after reaching 50 volunteer hours in a year (which you surpassed today!), you’re now eligible to request a volunteer grant from your employer on our behalf? Learn more about the process here!”

As you can see from these examples, any corporate giving follow-up messages should begin with an acknowledgment of what the supporter has already brought to your organization. Then, remind them about available workplace giving potential and encourage them to take the next steps.

5. Lack of organization time and resources to devote to corporate philanthropy

The Roadblock

Nonprofit teams tend to be particularly busy in their workplaces⁠—there’s a lot on each individual’s plate and each team member typically wears multiple hats. And sometimes, corporate philanthropy can seem like just another task to delegate to your already-stretched-thin fundraisers.

That’s why so many organizations miss out on potential corporate funding opportunities due to a lack of team members’ time and effort. It’s hard to find the resources to devote to the initiative, and, as a result, corporate philanthropy is pushed to the back burner.

The Solution

If your team doesn’t have time to manually screen for available philanthropy opportunities within your network of support, communicate program guidelines and next steps to eligible participants, and follow up with supporters to drive maximum corporate revenue toward your cause, the good news is that you don’t have to!

Matching gift automation helps streamline all of the above tasks so that organizations like yours can do more with corporate philanthropy without having to dedicate excess time and resources to it.

Equip your team with best-in-class fundraising software designed for corporate giving maximization, such as Double the Donation. With the right unified nonprofit fundraising and engagement platform, like EveryAction, you can easily highlight matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other corporate fundraising initiatives across your organization’s donation forms, confirmation screens, post-transaction email communications, and more—and as of late 2022, you’ll be able to integrate these tools for even more accurate data, more efficiently.

Key takeaways

Corporate philanthropy is on the rise and has the potential to significantly elevate any organization’s fundraising efforts. The right technology can help nonprofit teams make the most of strategic business partnerships to raise more for their mission without dramatically increasing demands on their staff’s time or energy.

Ready to learn more about ways your nonprofit software can support your organization and help you diversify your fundraising revenue with corporate philanthropy? Let’s talk.