How Corporate Philanthropy Benefits Educational Institutions

Last updated: August 3, 2023

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Educational institutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our society. But with often limited access to the resources they need for optimal operations, many schools⁠ struggle to provide the best possible learning environments. Luckily, smart fundraising strategies can bridge these critical gaps, and corporate philanthropy brings education fundraising to the next level.

As businesses donate money, resources, expertise, and more to support schools and other charitable causes, corporate philanthropy has emerged as a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership. And this opportunity is only projected to grow!

By examining the multifaceted benefits that businesses bring to the table, this guide will explore the profound impact of corporate philanthropy on educational institutions like yours.

This includes (but is certainly not limited to) the following benefits:

  1. New opportunities for financial support
  2. Amplified individual giving
  3. Heightened donor engagement levels
  4. Increased access to in-kind donations
  5. Expanded marketing reach and awareness

Between these significant perks, the bottom line is consistent: exploring the power of corporate philanthropy leads to substantial growth in an organization’s ROI. Read on to find out how!

New opportunities for financial support

One of the most evident benefits of corporate philanthropy for educational institutions is the funding these initiatives provide. In fact, studies show that businesses donate an average of $20 to $26 billion each year. With more than 29% going to education-related causes⁠, that’s more than any other nonprofit sector.

Though the sources of this funding can vary widely from company to company and from school to school, corporate philanthropy support is generally contributed through programs like these:

  • Student scholarship programs
  • Funding for research projects
  • Fundraising or other school event sponsorships
  • Infrastructure, facilities, and technology upgrades
  • General purpose grants
  • Workplace giving initiatives (e.g., matching gifts)

Providing monetary contributions in these ways enables corporations to support educational institutions, their faculty and staff, their students, and their overall communities. As a result, the schools receiving the funding can improve their operations, expand their programming, and better equip the next generations of students.

Amplified individual giving

Beyond corporate donations, another critical contributor of school fundraising revenue is individual supporters. But did you know that corporate philanthropy can inspire increased personal giving as well?

Most notably through workplace giving programs like matching gifts and volunteer grants, donors who qualify⁠—and are aware of the opportunities⁠—are more likely to donate charitably than those not aware of workplace giving programs. According to corporate giving statistics from Double the Donation, 84% of survey participants are more likely to donate if a match is offered, while 1 in 3 donors would give a more significant gift if so.

As a result, fundraising outreach that mentions corporate matching opportunities sees, on average, a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in donation amount.

Heightened donor engagement levels

Not only do educational institutions that market matching gift opportunities benefit from elevated campaign conversion rates and larger gift sizes, but they also tend to see unique and impactful opportunities for donor involvement. When supporters are engaged outside of typical financial appeals, it helps deepen relationships and strengthen their connection to your school.

After all, participating in a corporate giving program⁠—like corporate matching gifts⁠—empowers individual donors to double their impact on your institution. They’ll be more likely to continue supporting your fundraising efforts in the future, and they’ll typically stay increasingly engaged for more extended periods after contributing.

Increased access to in-kind donations

Another form of corporate partnership made possible by many companies’ philanthropic efforts involves generous gifts-in-kind. Also known as in-kind donations, these contributions are essentially any non-monetary gift.

For educational institutions, in-kind donations may include goods and services such as these:

  • State-of-the-art research or laboratory equipment
  • Books, educational materials, and office supplies
  • Software licenses or other technology
  • Furniture and fixtures for campus facilities
  • Catering or food services for events and conferences
  • Transportation or vehicle donations
  • Pro bono professional services, such as legal, marketing, or accounting support
  • Guest lectures or workshops by industry experts
  • In-kind advertising or media spots

Overall, in-kind contributions empower institutions to make the most of their limited resources while significantly alleviating key operational costs and strengthening their capacity to fulfill their missions.

By provisioning necessary resources for free or at heavily discounted rates, gifts-in-kind are able to supplement a school’s existing assets and enhance its overall impact. Receiving these types of goods and services without financial burden empowers schools to reach their goals and expand their reach without incurring additional expenses.

As a result, their newfound budgetary flexibility enables them to channel their resources back into fundraising efforts, marketing campaigns, and other institutional operations. By investing in these areas, schools like yours can effectively amplify their fundraising impact, attract more donors, and scale their initiatives to serve their educational communities even better.

Expanded marketing reach and awareness

When corporations invest in educational and social initiatives, they often seek to highlight their commitment to doing so, thus showcasing their dedication to positively impacting society. As a result, the institutions being supported gain access to these businesses’ vast co-marketing resources and extensive networks, and the exposure allows the school to reach and engage with new audiences.

Not to mention, the association with reputable and socially responsible corporations can also enhance an institution’s brand image and credibility, building trust among prospective students, supporters, and overall communities.

By leveraging corporate partners’ (often more expansive) promotional capabilities, educational institutions like yours can effectively position themselves in a competitive landscape and attract a broader audience⁠—all while making the most of their own marketing investments!

Next Steps

The symbiotic relationship between corporate entities and educational institutions has proven essential to a well-thought-out fundraising plan. But your institution is not going to make the most of the opportunities at hand without a proactive approach to corporate philanthropy.

Luckily, your existing data can go a long way to inform your corporate engagement strategy going forward. 

Top tip: Identify top corporate partnership opportunities within your network using Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro⁠—which integrates seamlessly with ascend by UC Innovation (now with Kindsight). Using the software, donors are encouraged to provide employment information to uncover workplace giving opportunities like matching gifts and volunteer grants.

From there, 360MatchPro also provides an intuitive list of the top-searched employers in ascend equipping your school with insights into the most popular companies your donors work for. Determine whether these businesses have established corporate giving programs, and remember that your supporters can be some of your greatest advocates for your cause.

Good luck!

Guest Author: Our Partners at Double the Donation

Written by Admin

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