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Why Corporate and Nonprofit Partnerships Are More Beneficial Than Ever

Nonprofit partnerships with corporations are a vital part of the social ecosystem. Corporations have different mandates (such as the Community Reinvestment Act), resources, and capacities than nonprofits, though goals often correlate. Working together can create exponential impact. 

From the corporation’s perspective, an amazing 77% of consumers are more motivated to purchase from companies that are “making the world a better place.”  This compels companies to do good. Only 20% of corporations in 2011 published a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. In 2019, 90% of corporations published a report.

Usually, CSR for corporations involves nonprofit partnerships. These nonprofit–corporate partnerships are arrangements where the corporation and the nonprofit align in their goals and receive mutual benefits.  Benefits for nonprofits may be monetary, as in philanthropic donations and sponsorships. They may be time, talent, or treasure. Sometimes a corporation has an interest in seeing a certain change happen in the community. Boosting families out of poverty may create more consumers for their products, for instance. 

Nonprofit–corporate partnership models have existed for more than 100 years. But the combination of many factors including the COVID pandemic and modern worker values has changed the dynamics of corporate volunteering.   

New tech tools like Golden have opened up possibilities for volunteer roles. They simplify management and recruitment capacity.  This makes it easier to maximize mutual benefits within corporate and nonprofit partnerships.        

The Definition of a Nonprofit–Corporate Partnership

Nonprofit partnerships with corporations have 3 components. 

  1. They reflect shared values. The corporation’s CSR or charitable mission for social good in the community should reflect similar values to that of the nonprofit organization. A corporation that sells school supplies might benefit from CSR that nudges parents to choose their products. They will look for charities that match their values. These might be charities that uplift underserved children through sports sponsorships or after-school programs.

  2. Both the corporation and the nonprofit benefit. Companies can reap tax deductions from gifts while improving their CSR metrics from working with nonprofits. Nonprofits should receive the same value of reward for their partnership. They may receive donations of money or time from corporate volunteers. The benefits should be equal and mutually beneficial for the partnership to be fair.

  3. Equal commitment. Both parties should be committing equitable time and resources to the arrangement. One side might be more willing to provide staff time and leadership while the other provides goods and funding. However, the exchange should be equitable and demonstrate commitment by both sides. 

Two people are engaged in a conversation. One is showing the other something on a piece of clothing. The second person is typing on a laptop. A pile of folded cloth items sits on the table nearby.Volunteers can help nonprofits achieve their goals by providing specific skills or simple manpower for events like clothing drives. 

5 Reasons Corporate Partnerships are Important for Nonprofits

There are many great reasons that nonprofits should engage in corporate partnerships. Here are five. 

  1. Easy unrestricted operating funding. Corporations can deduct a good amount of charitable donations to qualified nonprofits in the United States and many other countries. This improves their tax liability.  Many companies have a charitable foundation or fund to which they channel a portion of profits every year. Nonprofits with good corporate partnerships are the go-to recipients of these gifts. Better yet, the gifts are usually unrestricted. 

  2. Sponsorship funding. On top of philanthropic funding, corporations mandate a portion of their marketing budget to support social impact efforts. This means they want their name on nonprofit events and programs. Nonprofits that have good relationships established with corporations can tap into this resource with less effort.

  3. New donors. Many corporations offer matching funds for gifts to nonprofits from employees and other similar workplace giving programs. It is easier to attract these volunteers through nonprofit–corporate partnerships.

  4. Improved volunteer capacity. Corporate volunteerism  is a great way for a nonprofit to improve its capacity and connect with the community. Companies can lend knowledgeable expertise and skills, or simply manpower, for community projects.

  5. Improved marketing and branding. Having the clout of good corporate partnerships can help a nonprofit attract more community support from other corporations, donors, and potential partners. 

5 Reasons Nonprofit Partnerships are Important for Corporations

Likewise, nonprofit partnerships have particular benefits for corporations. Here are the top reasons corporations seek out these relationships. 

  1. Social responsibility. Helping nonprofits links directly back to impact goals. The best nonprofit volunteer management software, Golden, seamlessly integrates with other software. Golden users can integrate data with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Blackbaud, and Workday to track volunteer hours and volunteer tasks completed against corporate goals.

  2. Brand management. Linking marketing to great causes in the community that consumers care about will boost a corporation’s image, sometimes a lot.

  3. Employee fulfillment.   Employees are happier if they know their corporate brand is giving back to the community in positive ways. They are also happier if they get to be part of events that give back. Volunteering improves mental health and even lowers blood pressure.  Happy employees produce more and stay longer! Supporting corporate volunteerism is a win-win for companies.

  4. Employee skill building. When employees volunteer, they learn new skills and sharpen old ones while connecting with others in their community. Volunteering in this way can be a fun way to encourage team building, managerial skills practice, and leadership development. 

  5. Tax benefits. Governments in developed countries give tax breaks to corporations for a reason. They want them to give charitable donations to nonprofits. Direct philanthropy models can be more efficient than government-sponsored social programs. That helps communities save along the value chain. Corporations with  nonprofit partnerships in place get the tax break and also receive all of the above benefits.  

Examples of Great Nonprofit–Corporate Partnerships 

March of Dimes relies on corporate partnerships for funding and support. It can attract great partners because of the value-add it lends.  It boasts 99% name recognition amongst moms in America. About 79% of mothers align with the organization’s values. One of their key nonprofit partnerships is with Pampers. The leading diaper company has a vested interest in supporting March of Dimes’ mission for maternal and infant health equity. 

The United Way is one of the most recognized nonprofits in America and relies on solid corporate partnerships to meet its goals. To attract corporate partnerships, the organization has a toolkit of tactics. One of its strategies is to offer volunteer impact measurement through Golden software, linking to various community events throughout the United States. 

Kelloggs has directly partnered with United Way for more than 90 years, helping source food for tens of thousands of children in need annually. The partnership uses volunteer management software to track exactly how many children are impacted, in which communities, and with how many volunteer hours. Those impact measurements go directly toward Kelloggs’ CSR goals. In turn, the work improves United Way’s reach.

 A man is talking with one younger boy in a dark blue shirt, who is giggling. Two other boys in turquoise shirts stand nearby. Corporations are likely to align with nonprofit missions that support their CSR goals or match well with their target consumer base’s values. A reliable effort is helping children’s sports teams or mentorship programs. 

Attracting Corporate Partnerships

Smaller organizations can be successful at attracting corporate nonprofit partnerships, as well. A key to success is using a software tool like Golden. In Golden, nonprofits can post volunteer opportunities that resonate with corporations and demonstrate a clear pathway toward meeting their CSR goals. 

Volunteer opportunities can be an inflection point for attracting new partners. Nonprofits also can use Golden to search through companies whose goals align with their missions. Then they can work on connecting and progressing to deeper relationships. 

It is also important to be explicit. Nonprofits should state that they are interested in attracting corporate partnerships to begin with! Nonprofits can create meaningful webpages and outreach materials like the March of Dimes and United Way examples. Their corporate nonprofit partnerships pages outline the mutual benefits, the terms for engagement, and different options for participation in the programs. 

With Golden, corporations can browse 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, research what they’re about and their performance using Charity Navigator data, volunteer with them, and donate to them. CSR team leaders and champions within the company can manage team and group signups and recommend and curate opportunities to their colleagues. 

They can request “custom” versions to fit the company’s specific needs for virtual, in-person, and skills-based volunteer opportunities. Members of the corporation can even donate to nonprofits (and get tax receipts) as means to make custom reservations.  Within these partnerships, both the company and the nonprofit get automatic, real-time tracking dashboards to view the engagement, hours, and impact KPIs associated with the work the employees complete. 

Are you struggling to engage and retain volunteers? Discover how our platform fosters meaningful connections, tracks impact, and rewards volunteers for their dedication. Schedule a personalized demo to learn more.


Forming a Nonprofit–Corporate Partnership

It is important for everyone to be clear in their goals and expectations when pursuing nonprofit partnerships. Key steps include the following. 

  1. Define goals. Each party should outline what they are hoping to achieve from the partnership. Is the goal impact metrics, a certain value of in-kind volunteer hours, or a specific sponsorship amount? How do those metrics relate back to the nonprofit mission and the corporate plan?

  2. Pick a partnership model. What type of partnership will work best to meet shared goals? Types of partnership models include skills-based volunteering, fundraising support, and workplace giving programs.  

  3. Create an agreement. Some corporations may want a memorandum of understanding or formal contract. For others a simple email conversation or verbal agreement suffices.

  4. Nominate points of contact. One person from each organization should be the point person for the work.

  5. Share a common software tool. The two parties should both have access to the same web tool to coordinate, engage, track, and scale their program together. Golden is the most award-winning corporate and nonprofit volunteering platform. Key innovative factors are that it can process donations, and it automatically updates with other tools companies and nonprofits have in place, via integrations.

  6. Evaluate, learn, and reset. At set milestones, get together and debrief! Go over the impact metrics of volunteer programs and donations.  Learn from your results, and innovate improvements for the future. Definitely make sure there are more opportunities available, because employees will want to capture that “glow” and keep doing something good!

Streamlining Nonprofit Partnerships with Tech Tools

Nonprofit partnerships with corporations have become even more important over the past 20 years. Nonprofits are competing heavily for charitable resources. And corporations need to be socially engaged to maintain their customers and grow their businesses. 

Volunteering is a critical component of the nonprofit partnerships mix. Great software like Golden can help nonprofits and corporations alike define and meet their goals, in simpler ways. 

Corporations can shop around for the most engaging volunteer opportunities for their employees. On the other hand, with seamless integration with Salesforce management, nonprofits can see, in a snapshot, which companies their current volunteers are connected with and how. These are pathways toward creating meaningful nonprofit–corporate partnerships that can lead to greater good for all involved.