How to Get Corporate Fundraising Donations to Charity

Corporate fundraising: how to find companies willing to donate to charities, company sponsorship, charity fundraising agreements & charitable tax relief

How to Get Corporate Fundraising Donations to Charity

A short guide to corporate fundraising, to help you get donations for your charity, including the different types of corporate donations, how to find companies willing to donate, how to find a good company match for your charity, how to apply for a donation, what you can offer for donations and sponsorship, charity corporate fundraising agreements, tax relief on corporate charitable donations and links to corporate fundraising regulatory guidance.  This guide to corporate fundraising gives you a step-by-step process and checklists that anyone can use to get corporate donations and sponsorship.

Corporate Donations to Charity

There are different ways to give corporate donations to charity but also other valuable support companies can provide in addition to donations.

  • Making corporate donations or.
    • By match funding the fundraising efforts of employees or
    • Company staff payroll giving.
  • Promoting and allowing time off for volunteering, particularly:
    • Skills based volunteering, where staff offer their professional skills, such as legal advice, marketing, or IT support, which can be more valuable than traditional volunteering or.
    • Advice or mentoring by senior or specialist staff.
    • Perhaps linked to an Employee Engagement Programme that engages employees with the charity’s work, which can boost morale and provide team-building opportunities.
  • Promoting the charity internally and/or externally in posters, newsletters or social media.
  • In kind corporate donations of services or products essential for your work, such as software licenses, furniture, or professional services, or:
    • Provision of surplus stock for your use, or for beneficiaries or for fundraising/sale or:
    • Sale of recyclable materials, such as old mobile phones, IT or used printer or toner cartridges.
  • Licence to use company materials, such as workshop or training programmes.
  • Use of company offices for meetings, events or storage.

How To Find Companies That Make Donations

Our Help Finder directory makes it really quick and easy to find companies that donate to charity, both national and local.  You can also use it to find other corporate fundraising support, such as company volunteers, venues, and product donations.  Plus companies that match fund or have a charity of the year.

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What Your Charity Can Offer A Company for Donations

It is important that you offer recognition for any kind of company donation but any commercial value must only be incidental.

  • Recognition in Publications: Acknowledgement in the charity’s annual report, newsletters, and other printed materials.
  • Online Acknowledgement: Listing on the charity’s website with the company logo and a thank-you message and/or social media shout-outs.
  • Press Releases: Mention of the company in press releases related to the project or event they supported.
  • Certificates of Appreciation: Formal certificates or plaques recognising the company’s contributions.
  • Event Invitations: Invitations to special events, galas, or ceremonies held by the charity.
  • Tours and Visits: Exclusive tours of the charity’s facilities or project sites for company employees.
  • Networking Opportunities: Opportunities to network with other donors, supporters, and influential figures at charity events.
  • Volunteering: Organised volunteer days or projects for company employees, often including team-building activities.
  • Reports on Impact: Detailed reports on the impact of the company’s donations, including stories and statistics.
  • Employee Engagement: Opportunities for employees to engage in charity events and activities, boosting morale and company culture.
  • Brand Association: Positive brand association with the charity’s cause and values, enhancing corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials.
  • Use of Charity Logo: Permission to use the charity’s logo on the company’s marketing materials to demonstrate their support.
  • Joint PR Campaigns: Collaboration on public relations campaigns highlighting the partnership.
  • Special Mentions at Events: Verbal acknowledgment at charity events or during speeches.
  • Exclusive Updates: Regular updates on the charity’s work and how the company’s support is making a difference.
  • Case Studies: Development of case studies showcasing the partnership, which can be used in the company’s marketing and CSR reports.
  • Thank-You Videos: Custom thank-you videos from beneficiaries or the charity’s staff.
  • Charity Merchandise: Branded merchandise or tokens of appreciation.
  • Community Engagement: Opportunities for the company to engage with the local community through charity-led initiatives.
  • Training and Workshops: Access to training sessions, workshops, or seminars organised by the charity.
  • Cause-Related Marketing: Collaborations on marketing campaigns where a portion of sales supports the charity, without being a formal sponsorship.
  • Employee Wellbeing Programmes: Incorporating charity activities into the company’s wellbeing programmes, promoting health and wellness among staff.

What is Charity Corporate Sponsorship?

In the UK, a charitable donation is a payment freely given where the donor receives nothing of real value in return, while a sponsorship is a payment where the company making the payment receives a significant benefit related to their company.  When a charity enters into a corporate sponsorship agreement with a company, the benefits can be more substantial and tailored to enhance the sponsor's visibility and engagement.  Here are some company sponsorship ideas:

  • Logo Placement: Prominent placement of the sponsor’s logo on all event materials, including banners, flyers, and programmes.
  • Event Naming Rights: The opportunity to name an event or programme after the sponsor, e.g., “The [Company Name] Charity Run”.
  • Exclusive Sponsorship: Exclusive rights to be the sole sponsor in the sponsor’s industry category.
  • VIP Access: VIP tickets or reserved seating at charity events for sponsor representatives and their guests.
  • Speaking Opportunities: Opportunities for company representatives to speak at charity events.
  • Branded Content: Inclusion of sponsor’s branded content in charity communications, such as newsletters, email campaigns, and social media.
  • On-Site Activation: Opportunities to set up promotional booths or displays at charity events.
  • Product Placement: Opportunities for the sponsor’s products to be featured or used at charity events.
  • Media Coverage: Inclusion in media campaigns and advertisements related to the sponsored event or initiative.
  • Customised Sponsorship Packages: Tailored sponsorship packages that align with the sponsor’s marketing goals and target audience.
  • Guest Blogging: Opportunities for the sponsor to contribute guest blog posts on the charity’s website.
  • Co-Branded Campaigns: Joint marketing campaigns that leverage both the charity’s and the sponsor’s branding.
  • Access to Mailing Lists: Access to the charity’s mailing list for sponsor-related promotions, subject to GDPR compliance.
  • Promotional Materials: Distribution of the sponsor’s promotional materials at charity events.
  • Exclusive Networking Events: Invitations to exclusive networking events with other high-profile donors and sponsors.
  • Digital Sponsorship Badges: Digital badges for the sponsor’s website, indicating their support and sponsorship of the charity.
  • Feature Articles: Highlighting the sponsor’s contributions in feature articles on the charity’s website and publications.
  • Video Features: Inclusion in charity-produced videos showcasing the sponsor’s involvement and impact.
  • Discounted Services: Discounts on the charity’s services or events for the sponsor’s employees or clients.
  • Sponsorship Reports: Comprehensive reports detailing the reach and impact of the sponsorship, including metrics and feedback.
  • Exclusive Merchandise: Co-branded merchandise for the sponsor’s employees or clients.
  • Strategic Partnership: Opportunities for long-term strategic partnerships that provide ongoing benefits and collaborative projects.

How to Find a Corporate Fundraising Match for Your Charity

As with any other funding pitch, just asking lots of companies to make charitable donations rarely works.  You want to find companies whose values, what they want and might wish to provide fit with your charity.

What You Want. You can search Help Finder for charitable donations, products, volunteering, venues and pro bono professional advice, as well as mentoring and coaching support.  You can also search for match funding and charity of the year using the Key Word search box.

What They Want. You can also search the Key Word box for whom and what companies say they wish to support.  For example, using climate change.  But companies often use different terminology so searching for related words, such as environment or environmental may well bring up more companies.

Values.  When reading the company Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or charity or community web site pages, or the About Us page if they don't have any, look at what they say matters to them, including the language they use.  It might be a group of people, or a type of good or service, or innovation, or being part of the local community.  This will help you understand if you for with the company and if these are people you would be confident and happy to work with.

Due Diligence.  You can use either our charity due diligence or fundraising due diligence toolkits but, particularly for smaller charities, just search online using the name with a relevant key word, such as “complaint,” “review,” “rating", "bullying" or “scandal.”  Don’t just check page 1, as older issues may be sufficiently serious to still be relevant.

Who Can You Reach?  Sometimes it's essential but it's always helpful to make an approach via someone who works for or has a connection to someone in the company.  It can be very useful and, sometimes quite surprising, who your staff, volunteers, trustees and supporters know, so circulate your list looking for contacts.

How to Apply for a Company Charitable Donation

Landing a big corporate partnership requires a lot of skill and hard work, and I am a man of meagre talents.  However, many major companies make donations locally around their outlets (some have 1000s) and most local companies don't ask for a detailed case.

They often indicate what they need and, sometimes, when you can apply, and it's often just an e mail or a web form to submit.  For an initial approach, remember that people are busy and may receive lots of applications so keep it short and focussed on what matters to them.

Here is a checklist of things you might wish to include in your approach or in pitching to them.  If you're not confident about drafting this, you can login and use the AI bid writer to do this for you.

  1. Prepare Your Pitch: Start by preparing a compelling pitch. This should include an overview of your charity, the work you do, and how the company can benefit from partnering with you.
  2. Capture Hearts: Use real-life stories and/or quotes to create an emotional connection. Show the company how their support can make a real difference to a cause that matters to them.
  3. Capture Minds: Make a strong business case. Show how the partnership can help the company achieve its own goals. Use the company’s own language to show how your work aligns.  Avoid jargon or terminology they might not understand.
  4. Offer Things of Value to Them: Offer what the company wants.  That might be giving back to their local community, promoting staff volunteering and/or team work or contributing to a cause or in a way that they value.
  5. Be Bold: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. The worst they can say is no.

Remember, the key to a successful partnership is mutual benefit. Both the charity and the company should gain something from the partnership.

What is a Charity Corporate Fundraising Agreement?

The Charity Commission E&W publication Charities and commercial partners (RS2), includes guidance on charity partnership agreements on page 25.  Read the original but my layman's assessment of the relevant elements for a corporate fundraising agreement is summarised below.

The complexity of an agreement depends on the size and complexity of the charity, the company and the nature of the commercial partnership itself.  A company does not need an agreement to make a donation to you and may be put off by one. Charities should:

  • Make sure that company agreements are clear, accessible and in place before the partnership begins.
  • If necessary, take professional advice to ensure that the name of the charity is not improperly used or exploited and that the terms of the agreement are precisely drafted and that the interests of the charity are fully protected.
  • Ensure they have the right to prevent future use of their name by a commercial partner, if they are not satisfied with the partnership.
  • Give careful consideration to suitable provisions for terminating the agreement, together with their commercial partner.

What Should be Included in a Corporate Fundraising Agreement?

I think an agreement is useful, as most misunderstandings arise from a lack of clarity.  I'd suggest:

  • The legal names of the charity and company.
  • Outline what you aim to achieve by working together and how the charity and company will respectively contribute to making that happen.
  • Any relevant timings and amounts of funding and/or other support that will be provided.
  • Any administration and/or approvals required for the above.
  • Use of names/logos and how any publicity will be managed, including how things are shared online.
  • Any changes to be in writing and agreed by both parties.
  • How long the partnership will last and/or review periods.
  • Agreement termination.
  • Signed by individuals with the authority to do so.

Tax Relief on Corporate Donations to Charity

There are a lot of charitable tax reliefs for companies when they make charitable donations.  Make sure they area aware that they pay less Corporation Tax effectively making their company donation cheaper for them.

Companies can claim tax relief by deducting the value of their donations from their total business profits before they pay tax.

Corporate Fundraising Regulatory Guidance

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This Corporate Fundraising Guide Is Not Professional Advice

This corporate fundraising guide to donations and sponsorship is for general interest only and does not constitute professional legal or financial advice.  I'm neither a lawyer, nor an accountant, so not able to provide this, and I cannot write guidance that covers every charity or eventuality.  I have included links to relevant regulatory guidance, which you must check to ensure that whatever you create reflects correctly your charity’s needs and your obligations.  In using this resource, you accept that I have no responsibility whatsoever from any harm, loss or other detriment that may arise from your use of my work.  If you need professional advice, you must seek this from someone else. To do so, register, then login and use the Help Finder directory to find pro bono support. Everything is free.

Ethics note: I partly used Microsoft Co-pilot for 365 in the initial draft of this guide.

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