Blog Series: Level-Up Your Fundraising, Corporate Donors

Welcome to part 7 of our blog series, "Level-Up Your Fundraising."

This latest blog series is written to help nonprofits of all sizes navigate through several different fundraising situations. Each tip is designed to help you raise more money with less stress and hassle for your organization.

If you missed part 6 which is all about donor loyalty among major donors, you can view it here

Part 7: Think Outside the Box to Build Relationships with Corporate Donors

It’s important to cultivate relationships with corporations before you ask them for a gift… but cultivating those relationships can be hard. Here are three quick and unique ideas for building strong relationships with people at large local companies before you make an ask:

Idea #1: Host a Whole Company Volunteer Day

Does your nonprofit have some large projects that you need to get done, and which can be accomplished by volunteers? (E.g. preparing items for a silent auction, stuffing 5,000 envelopes, making calls, volunteering at your next race) If so, why not hold a “whole company volunteer day?”

Here’s how it works – let’s say you have someone who is involved with your nonprofit (as a donor, volunteer, or board member) and who works for a large company that you want to get more involved with. Approach that person and ask him or her if you could partner with his or her company for the entire workforce (or a significant portion of it) to come accomplish the task in one day. Promise that you will provide refreshments and positive PR, invite local reporters to cover the day, and post pictures on your website and social media.

When the day occurs, collect contact information from all the volunteers. Make a fuss over company leadership. Then, follow-up to both thank the volunteers as well as encourage them to become more involved as donors and supporters. This is a great way to turn one supporter into an entire company full of supporters for your organization. The good PR and great goodwill generated by the day will also endear your organization to the company’s management.

Idea #2: Set Up an Executive-on-Loan Program

If your nonprofit needs help with specific projects or with specific expertise, consider creating an executive-on-loan program and ask large local companies to “donate” a staff member with that expertise to your organization for a short period of time (1-3 months is normally a good time frame). This strategy only works with large companies who can afford to spare a mid-level worker for a couple of months.

Companies will often agree to this type of arrangement because it allows them to make a major donation without spending any money (they are already paying the worker’s salary). Nonprofits benefit from the skills and expertise of the executive for free. Plus – and this is the important part – this is a great way to build a relationship with a major company in your area and to then convert that company and its employees into donors for your nonprofit.

Idea #3: Hold a Joint Event with the Company

Many nonprofits find success holding free events (like roundtables, training opportunities, or community fairs) with large businesses in their area.  These events can be open to the public at large, or open solely to the staff of the company you are targeting.  Events like these provide an amazing opportunity to build awareness of your organization at a large local business as well as introduce you to specific prospects at that company.

For example, a community arts and culture organization could hold an art fair at a local company, perhaps even with a few of the artists, so employees can visit on their lunch break. Think outside the box on this one… most nonprofits can figure out a way to hold a joint event with large local businesses.


Check out our webinar on Corporate Social Responsibility for tips on how to fill in your funding gaps with CSR. Click here to watch “A Nonprofit Fundraising Crash Course to Diversify your Funding through CSR.”

Posted by Alyssa Pacheco

Alyssa Pacheco is a former Digital Marketing Manager, Nonprofit Solutions at StratusLIVE. She has three years of marketing and communications experience within the technology sector, along with four years of direct nonprofit fundraising experience. “I genuinely enjoy sharing the significant benefits that technology plays for nonprofit organizations in their social good efforts.”