Trends in corporate fundraising

By: Melissa Leite

Corporate fundraising has become a staple in many fundraising shops, and accordingly, a number of trends have emerged in this fundraising space. What motivates a corporate donor can be very different from what motivates an individual donor. This is an important consideration that needs to be taken into account when building a relationship with a corporate prospect.

Individuals are typically motivated to make a gift because they are looking for a social return on their investment and a fundraiser serves as a “partner in helping them realize their vision of change within their community or area of interest.”1 Corporations, on the other hand, are generally inclined to make a gift because of the branding, community engagement, product placement, and employee engagement opportunities that an investment in a charity affords.2 Making a gift can improve a corporation’s bottom line in a number of ways: more engaged staff, brand recognition and product sales.3 It’s important to remember profit is a key priority for a corporation and a gift to a charity is often motivated by business goals to make an organization more profitable.

This blog will highlight three key trends in corporate fundraising:

  • Corporate partnerships
  • Matching gifts
  • Volunteerism

Corporate Partnerships

Forming meaningful partnerships with corporations can help advance a charity’s mission and create positive change. Instead of viewing corporations solely as a source of funding, charities can explore creating deeper, more sustainable relationships with corporations that involve a higher level of engagement. Corporations can play a larger role in finding solutions to today’s challenges by offering their expertise, resources, services and skills.4When charities and corporations pool their varied resources and align their interests, they can work together to better address social and environmental challenges. Partnering with a charity can significantly increase a corporate partner’s brand reputation and credibility, which is a major reason why corporations choose to enter cross-sector partnerships.

Matching Gifts

Corporate gift matching programs are becoming quite prevalent. “Sixty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies match employee donations, as do many other companies in both the US and Canada.”5 Research indicates that workplace giving programs, such as gift matching, positively impact employee recruitment and retention.6 The increased prominence of millennials in the workforce is seen as a significant driver of this trend. “Millennials expect the companies they work for to give back and are more likely to work for companies that they believe have a sense of purpose and are making an impact.”7

Corporate gift matching programs are a great way individual donors can increase the impact of their gift. By simply inquiring and submitting a request to their employers, donors can sometimes double, triple or quadruple their gift amount.This is an option that charities should market to their donors, as many corporations have gift matching guidelines and programs that donors may not be aware of. Tapping into corporate gift matching programs can be an inexpensive and easy way to strengthen a charity’s fundraising.


Volunteerism is a resource that charities can utilize to increase the number of advocates for their cause. Many corporations are starting to grow their employee engagement programs by providing volunteer opportunities to their staff – an initiative that has been shown to increase employee recruitment and retention. Staff often have the flexibility in choosing the charities they want to donate their time to.

Benevity is an example of an online solution that provides volunteer tracking and reporting features that make it easy to set up volunteer programs. Partnering with an online solution such as Benevity allows charities and corporations to measure and evaluate the success of their volunteer programs, and make it easy for employees to share their volunteer efforts with their networks.

Statistics have shown that investing in volunteers can also translate into more donations – volunteers have been found to give twice as often to charity as non-volunteers.8

Charities and corporations can learn a lot from one another. As consumer awareness increases, many corporations are gaining interest in working with the charities that are involved in the communities they serve to advance positive change. Charities should be ready to engage with corporate donors to find solutions to today’s most pressing challenges.

Originally posted on AFP Inclusive Giving’s blog. Melissa is a 2016 AFP Inclusion and Philanthropy Fellow. The goal of this program is to build a pipeline of fundraising leaders that reflect the diversity of our communities.



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