How Nonprofits Can Make the Most of Corporate Partnerships and Why They’re Important

Expanding your donor base and effectively managing donations can be daunting, which is why corporate partnerships are crucial for nonprofits. Our executive director, Matt Nash, joined a webinar panel hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals to discuss the importance of company partnerships for nonprofits. We gathered five key highlights to help nonprofits identify and make the most of business relationships. By forming a mutually beneficial partnership with a company, nonprofits can increase their resources, grow their support network, and establish legitimacy in the community. 


Here are five highlights from the webinar on how nonprofits can leverage business partnerships.


  • How does The Blackbaud Giving Fund support nonprofits looking for corporate partnerships?

    The Blackbaud Giving Fund plays a pivotal role in fostering relationships between nonprofits and companies. We connect nonprofits with businesses that place a strong focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and want to align with purposeful projects. We help these companies channel this passion into practical support for nonprofits, which involves promoting employee volunteering programs to bolster employee engagement and attract new donors. Visibility is vital, so nonprofits should promote their mission wherever possible to attract corporations that are looking for nonprofit partnerships on their websites, giving portals like NPOconnect, social media, etc.

    A crucial component of this partnership model is the amplification of impact. When employees participate in employee giving programs, it often triggers matched corporate donations and can lead to additional support. This multi-layered approach to donations can exponentially increase the impact of an employee’s contribution and greatly benefit the nonprofit and its mission.

  • What role do sponsorships and partnerships play in how The Blackbaud Giving Fund supports nonprofits?

    Sponsorships and partnerships are the backbone of what we do. With over 400 corporate clients worldwide, nearly 90% have formal partnerships with nonprofits and encourage their employees to be active participants in their CSR programs.

    Our dedicated team works closely with companies’ CSR teams to develop programs that align with their values, create employee engagement, and benefit nonprofits. We frequently see successful partnerships that pair the company’s objectives and employees’ interests with a specific cause. High employee engagement is a key indicator of a successful nonprofit partnership because it leads to impactful giving and enhances the company’s brand image. Whether addressing a local, national, or global issue, the synergy created between corporations and nonprofits contributes significantly to the overall success of their CSR programs.

    To help ensure these partnerships are successful, we support companies through every step of their campaigns, including employee giving, corporate matching, and payroll deductions. These elements must be coordinated effectively so the campaign is successful for both the company and the nonprofit. 

  • What are your thoughts on businesses giving for the good of the cause rather than a marketing tactic?

    Companies are not solely focused on the marketing aspects of corporate giving. They strive to create a tangible social impact and involve their employees in the process. Their philanthropy efforts revolve around a central theme or purpose, which their consumers and employees echo. Nonprofits can benefit by aligning their mission with a company’s defined goals, which they outline in ESG or impact reports. Establishing a connection with businesses can start with identifying donations or volunteer efforts from their employees. These connections can eventually transform into substantial partnerships, benefitting not just large nonprofits but also smaller ones because many companies aim to make an impact at local levels. It’s about building partnerships that align with mutual goals, which lead to meaningful and sustainable impacts.

  • Where can nonprofits find information about a company’s CSR goals?

    Nonprofits can view a company’s CSR goals in annual reports on their website, likely in the investor relations section. These reports often integrate the business’s social impact statements, which showcase their commitment to specific causes. Dig into these reports to understand how seriously the organization takes its societal responsibilities and the actual impact they’re making. This can provide valuable insights into potential alignment with your nonprofit’s mission.

  • What advice would you give nonprofits who identify a company with a short-term interest in their cause?

    In these situations, nonprofits need to gauge the corporation’s commitment to the cause. If it seems like a fleeting interest, you may still want to seize the opportunity and engage the employees during this high-interest phase. This can develop new donors, who, even after the corporation moves on, could continue supporting your cause independently.

    However, be cautious and evaluate if a one-time engagement is worth the resources, especially when other organizations’ long-term goals may align more seamlessly with your mission. Pursuing these organizations could lead to long-term, sustainable partnerships rather than a temporary boost in support. It’s essential to find a balance between capitalizing on immediate opportunities and investing in long-term, mutual goals. 


Successful corporate partnerships can significantly enhance a nonprofit’s capabilities, helping extend your donor base, showcase your mission, and engage in long-term partnerships. Nurturing these partnerships requires understanding a company’s CSR goals, aligning mutual interests, and seizing opportunities that match your organization’s long-term vision. Remember, the goal is not transactional relationships but creating sustainable impacts. 


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