How to Land More Corporate Gifts
By Frank Monti

Frank Monti
Frank Monti
Corporate giving tends to vary with the general state of the economy. In boom times, corporate giving appears to be generous and easy to obtain, but in tighter times, corporations, like all donors, review all giving decisions with more care.

In any event, it’s now more challenging than ever trying to get corporate gifts.

Here are some useful tips to help make your corporate fundraising success more likely:
  • Recognize pecking order. Corporations, no matter how benevolent, do not see your nonprofit as a high priority. Each dollar that goes to your organization is one less dollar to shareholders in the form of dividends, to executives and employees as compensation, retained for reinvestment, or to pay down its debt.
  • Do a reality check. Face it, fundraising is intensely competitive. The average corporation gives less than two percent of its net annual income to charity. Hence, don’t presume that the capacity to give is automatically increased by the profitability of a corporation. Remember, you’re competing for a share of a small pie that rises slowly and has many claimants.
  • Find a strong link. Corporations have strong preferences for specific charities. Each corporation operates under sets of preferences of its directors, employees, executives, and shareholders. Corporations often give to enhance loyalty by consumers, to enhance corporate image, and also to participate in the welfare of the communities in which they’re located or want to do business. It helps to link your request to a strong business interest. What does your nonprofit’s existence do for them?
  • Know who the owners are. In the final analysis, corporate assets belong to shareholders ”“ they’re not the corporate officers' to give. Appreciate the fact that the person to whom you make the request or may be meeting usually cannot make the decision alone. Make a case that will persuade individuals at every level.

Ideas to Get More Corporate “Gifts”

Your organization needs to be more creative than ever in its corporate fundraising.

Look beyond the buck. In addition to dollars, look at your corporate donor prospects as a pool of other resources your nonprofit can use to accomplish its goals. These resources include personnel, facilities and the like. What’s more, look beyond the traditional corporate donor-charity relationship to spark innovative ways to direct more corporate funds to your organization.
  • Package your expertise. Put together educational seminars on topics directly connected to your nonprofit’s exempt purpose. These can be offered for a fee to company human resource staffs. Current hot topics include family issues, child care, elder care, and dealing with disabled employees and customers.
  • Offer consulting services. Develop and offer consulting services to companies concerning issues in which your organization is involved. For example, an AIDS organization can offer HIV educational consulting services.
  • Broaden your approach. Look beyond the corporate contributions area into other company departments ”“ marketing, for example. Do your constituents and any of the company’s markets match up? If so, team up with the company’s marketing people in a win-win project.
  • Help local retailers. Team up with local retailers for some holiday sales promotions. For example, a clothing store can give a discount off the price of a new coat if a customer brings in an old coat as a donation to your organization. This idea can spur sales and generate good will for the retailer. And your organization gets a donation boost.

Frank Monti, a Principal with Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd. (KLR), a Rhode Island based certified public accounting and business consulting firm, servicing the needs of nonprofit organizations and closely-held businesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Call him at 401-274-2001 or email to