How to Land a Corporate Volunteer Partnership
Landing a corporate partnership can feel like finding the “Fountain of Youth” in terms of nonprofit support. Corporate partnerships can provide stability in physical volunteer support, but many volunteers also become donors, and a corporate volunteer group can make that happen even faster.
Prepare your nonprofit for partnerships
Before you talk to any potential corporate volunteer, it’s important to the long-term success of your partnerships to have your ducks in order. Companies value highly efficient and communicative nonprofits. Make sure to prepare a one-page brief of what you most need from the company.
Include in that brief:
- Mission, who you serve, and how it makes a positive impact on the community
- EIN (for giving records)
- Your title and contact information
- What programs do you need support with?
- Why do those programs matter?
- What’s the commitment level? Outline the time, anything they need to bring, and the number of volunteers needed.
Successful corporate volunteer partnership planning
We can’t say this enough; companies appreciate efficiency, and that means efficiency in your programs as well. Make sure you request the right number of volunteers and that your organization has a smooth onboarding process when those volunteers arrive.
A scenario to avoid:
20 corporate volunteers show up to volunteer at a community kitchen. The volunteer coordinator is not there when the group arrives, and the staff is figuring out how to check the volunteers in and what they are there to do. Placements for volunteers have not been determined, so smaller groups of volunteers are made on the fly. However, there are really too many volunteers for the work that needs to be done so some corporate staff stand in the corners and talk amongst themselves or take turns. Nonprofit staff seems to be relaxing and on “break” as volunteers work.
These are situations our corporate clients often tell us they experienced before volunteering with POINT. They often don’t return to those organizations or send funding. Unfortunately, these common situations can be detrimental to partnerships rather than a boost to your nonprofit. Remember, since companies are usually encouraging staff to volunteer as part of their giving teams or corporate social responsibility plan, so they want to make sure employees feel like they are making an impact. This makes employees more likely to want to volunteer again, and can lead to a long-lasting partnership. It can be stressful, but there are ways you can plan for a successful and lasting corporate relationship, and many of them are just small changes.
How to plan a successful corporate volunteering day:
1. Make sure a friendly staff member is there to greet volunteers and explain upfront the importance of their time spent helping serve your cause.
2. Plan ahead and train anyone who will be onsite to check in volunteers. On POINT, you can do this with a tap of a button.
3. Plan out how you’ll separate groups of volunteers for various tasks, and explain to each group the importance of what they’re doing. Nonprofit staff should be busy working alongside volunteers or out of sight if not active.
4. Think about the things that create a great volunteer experience. (Note: The experience of the people your organization serves comes first and foremost, but you can decide if you’re in a position to optimize the experience for volunteers). Turn on some music, provide water, and get to know people. Plan additional tasks groups can do if they knock out the first tasks.
5. As volunteers leave, thank all the volunteers, and if you can, quantify the impact they had on your organization so they leave understanding that their time was well spent.
6. Send the corporate volunteer contact person photos and impact stats of what their team accomplished at your organization. Did you know POINT automatically generates impact stats for every event. You can also send them your donation link or POINT profile so they have an easy way to donate as individuals and/or as a company.
How to Find the Right Corporate Partner
Not every company is going to be the right fit for your organization. Find companies by searching for corporations or local businesses near you. Reach out to the company and ask for a meeting.
Tip: Remember, thinking of smaller companies can lead to greater support than a recognizable company that may support dozens of local nonprofits. It’s becoming more common for local companies to encourage employee volunteering in the community.
Before your meeting, send your one-page brief and check the company’s website to see if they align with any of your causes or provide lists of “cause pillars.” If the company supports education and you benefit the climate, it may not be the best fit, unless you have a program around environmental education. Make sure you’re aware of a company’s values or ask when you’re talking with them. Be open with the corporate volunteer contact person by saying that you want to discover if your organization is the right fit for them and vice versa.
After the meeting, ask yourself, “Is this the right fit?” Some companies have high asks for nonprofits. What if they want to bring 200 volunteers when your nonprofit normally can only handle 20 at a time? Make sure to clearly communicate what support is beneficial to your organization and what would be an (unintentional) burden. It’s okay to kindly educate corporate admins on how your organization operates best and explain what optimizes their employee volunteer experience.
If it’s the right partnership fit then *boom* you’re ready to get started. Send the company a private event link on POINT. If they are already a POINT partner, co-host the event with them so both you and the company can share the volunteer impact data (without you having to do a thing).
Does your corporate partner want to support you with more than just volunteering? Create a list of items you need through a POINT registry. List things like office supplies, donations for the community you serve, or any other goods/items that the company or employees can donate. Share that registry with the company so that their employees can either fund or send you the items you need. POINTer: At POINT, we see employees give 4x more through a registry than a traditional donate link! Forreal.
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