Although corporate giving remains a small slice of the philanthropic pie in the U.S., it still represents an alluring opportunity for most nonprofits. Corporate gifts often lead to individual support and they also bring legitimacy and earned media attention. In this interview, Stephanie Brown, CFRE shares an emerging trend following the COVID-19 pandemic: the move of corporate giving from sponsorship to straight support. Listen to hear the pros, cons, and possibilities of this philanthropic trend.
Corporate gifts, grants, and sponsorships are all slightly different ways for-profit entities can further the work of the causes they care about. So, which is better: a straight grant, gift, or sponsorship? Neither is expressly superior, but sponsorships typically involve exchanging promotion, acknowledgment, or other consideration. Realistically, a gift with no expectations should result in less work for the nonprofit and more freedom in how the funds are used. (So long as the gift isn’t designated to a specific program or need).
Stephanie’s theory is that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on events and gatherings forced corporations to explore other forms of support. Many businesses budgeted to sponsor a gala, golf outing, or another fundraiser that wasn’t able to happen for a couple of years. Although the country is slowly emerging from the pandemic and events are happening, many corporations (and nonprofits) now realize that a straight gift can be a more meaningful, flexible, and helpful way to support a cause.
As a law-school dropout (Sorry, Mum!), I found myself on a new path after working part-time at Ronald McDonald House. My childhood was sheltered, and when I realized the many challenges (and flat-out injustices) in the world today, I was just buzzing to do something about it! I used my administrative skills to get into databases, which led to fundraising and events, ultimately leading to nonprofit management. My journey took another twist when I was offered the chance to work alongside a software development team at Kambeo. In this role, I was able to help their mission to build tools nonprofits could use to further their missions. This is my first corporate job, and seeing the nonprofit sector through their eyes has inspired me to strengthen the bond between the two sectors.
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