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Corporate Partnerships with Nonprofits – 4 Business Benefits

Nonprofits can count on funding from a variety of sources year after year, including individual donors, foundations and even corporations. These contributions make a huge difference in how nonprofits can fund and plan events, offer services and do more good in their communities.

In fact, businesses gave $21.08 billion to nonprofits in 2022, representing a 3.4% increase since 2021. There’s a good reason why so many companies are ramping up their corporate giving and philanthropic initiatives—companies earn a score of benefits, from enhanced social reputation to increased employee satisfaction.

In this guide, we’ll go over the top benefits of setting up a corporate philanthropy program with nonprofits to inspire your business.

By making corporate philanthropy a natural extension of your brand, you’ll be able to do more good in your community and improve your business model in the process.

corporate partnerships with nonprofits: 4 business benefits

🤝 What is corporate philanthropy?

Before we dive into the benefits of corporate philanthropy for your business, let’s cover exactly what corporate philanthropy is. Aly Sterling Philanthropy defines corporate philanthropy as a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that encompasses the programs and efforts businesses undertake to improve the welfare of others.

Corporate partnerships with nonprofits can look like:

  • 💸 Direct financial support: Businesses can provide nonprofits with funds to expand their services, help renovate their facilities, host campaigns or purchase new technology.
  • 🤝 Workplace giving programs: 360MatchPro explains that workplace giving connects employees with charitable giving opportunities, ultimately boosting satisfaction in their roles. For example, companies might agree to match all employees’ donations up to a certain amount. Another popular form of workplace giving is payroll deductions, in which employees request a certain amount of their paycheck be donated.
  • 🥫 In-kind donations: Businesses can give nonprofits item donations like cans for a food drive, pro-bono services or space that they can use for donor stewardship activities, like appreciation events or topic-focused luncheons.
  • 🙋‍♀️ Volunteerism: In this type of corporate partnership, employees volunteer their time to support a nonprofit. Some companies offer volunteer grants—donations to the nonprofits employees volunteer with based on how many hours they’ve contributed—to incentivize volunteerism.

While you might be tempted to dive right into any one of these philanthropic giving modes, it’s important to take a step back and create a clear plan for what you want to accomplish. Your goals will inform what corporate philanthropy looks like at your business, whether that’s a robust volunteer program, matching gifts or a combination of philanthropic initiatives.

If you’re not sure where to start, work with a corporate philanthropy consultant. A consultant can help uncover your philanthropic purpose and structure mutually beneficial nonprofit partnerships that push forward your objectives while driving meaningful change in the community.

Now that you know the ins and outs of corporate philanthropy, let’s take a closer look at the benefits your company will realize by expanding your CSR program.

Corporate philanthropy can benefit companies in these four ways, repeated below.

💁‍♀️ Benefit #1: Improved employee engagement

Corporate partnerships with nonprofits bolster employee engagement, with 89% of corporate executives reporting a high degree of satisfaction among their employees when their company has a strong sense of purpose. After all, the opportunity to put more social good in the world (and do it with workplace peers!) puts anyone in a good mood.

In fact, 87% of employees who engage in corporate volunteering reported an improved perception of their employer. As a result, these employees are more motivated to push forward company goals and perform at a high level.

Plus, through corporate volunteering, employees can get to know one another outside the workplace. This helps form strong peer relationships that can convert to greater productivity and cohesion in the office.

🎉 Benefit #2: Top talent recruitment and retention

Your company wants the best of the best when it comes to hiring, and having philanthropic initiatives in place can help you attract top talent. In fact, 71% of employees report that it’s very important to work at a philanthropic company. And, employees participating in workplace giving have 75% longer tenures with their employers.

This goes to show that your employees want to work at a philanthropic-minded company and are more likely to stick around with meaningful initiatives in place. If you’re not sure what types of philanthropic initiatives your employees would be most interested in, don’t hesitate to survey them directly so you can readily create a program that relates to their interests.

📈 Benefit #3: Increased customer loyalty

In 2023, the US experienced a 14% decline in customer loyalty, meaning that businesses across the country are struggling to retain consumers. To navigate around this challenge and boost customer retention rates, look no further than a strong corporate philanthropy program.

👉 Read more about why your company should start a matching gift program

One study found that consumers are 85% more likely to give their business to brands that support a cause or nonprofit. In other words, consumers want to spend money on items or services with the knowledge that some portion of that sale will go towards something meaningful.

By associating your brand with charitable giving, you’ll be more likely to attract customers and retain them for the long run. Make sure to promote your philanthropy program far and wide to boost your visibility as a socially conscious brand.

👩‍💻 Benefit #4: Access to new marketing opportunities

One of the greatest benefits of partnering with a nonprofit is the opportunity to bring more awareness to your company. This is especially true if you’re partnering with an organization with the same target audience, giving you access to hundreds to thousands of prospective customers who are likely to invest in your products or services.

👉 Read more about co-hosting events

Often, nonprofits will show their appreciation by featuring their corporate partners in their marketing materials, such as their website or social media. This association with the nonprofit helps portray your business as a socially responsible brand, setting you apart from the crowd and proving why consumers should spend their hard-earned funds at your business.

🧡 Corporate and nonprofit partnerships are a win-win

Corporate philanthropy can have a huge impact on your company’s profitability, employee retention rates and your success as a whole. If you need support expanding your brand to include philanthropy, seek out advice from experienced corporate philanthropy consultants.

A corporate philanthropy consultant will start by learning more about your company’s purpose and values. Then, they’ll create a plan to align this purpose with a cohesive corporate philanthropy program that engages employees and drives impact in the community.

Whether you’re supporting a nonprofit’s strategic plan by matching donations or providing volunteer grants, you’ll reap a wide array of benefits with a sound philanthropic foundation.

Plus, a corporate partner can help increase your nonprofit’s funding, helping you better serve your community. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as the workplace giving programs discussed earlier. Through setting up a matching gifts tool, volunteer grants, or payroll deductions, employees will feel incentivized to give and eager to support your organization.

Plus, these employees can turn into loyal donors, boosting your donor retention. A greater donor retention rate will give your nonprofit a reliable revenue stream. This can be used to fund your programs, services or any miscellaneous costs that come up. 

Think through your CSR goals today and how you can optimize your charitable approach!

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Guest blog by Aly Sterling of Aly Sterling Philanthropy

Long before Aly Sterling founded her eponymous consulting firm, she was solving the unique yet similar problems encountered by nonprofit organizations.
Her decision to start her own business in 2007 was driven by her belief in leadership as the single most important factor in organizational success, and her determination to work with multiple causes at one time to scale societal change.

Aly’s expertise includes fundraising, strategic planning, search consultation and board leadership development for the well-positioned nonprofit. She is regularly sought for comment by trade and mainstream media, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy and U.S. News & World Report. She has contributed to publications of BoardSource and The Governance Institute, as well as the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and The Giving Institute.

Photo Lindsey Schad
Lindsey Schad
Head of Communication Team

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.