Corporations may donate to a charity or not-for-profit organisations by means of a company sponsored foundation, or through a separate corporate giving
Corporate giving programmes are often managed by a company’s community or public relations department and is usually limited to benefitting employees,
their families, or residents of specific locations where the company conducts business. It can include donations, employee matching gifts and in kind
support. Company sponsored foundations work more like trusts and foundations and will have specific grant giving criteria and guidelines. Information on
these can often be found on the company’s website (usually under the ‘About us’ section).
Donations are items or cash given to you by a company. As a rule, but not always, these come from community giving budgets. Most companies from mainstream
banks to supermarket stores have one of these. Companies are not expecting a brilliant return for their donation or gift. However, it is good practice to
mention funders in your newsletter, annual report, or issue a brief press release through the local press.
Some businesses set guidelines on voluntary sector funding (for example Lloyds Bank Foundation, Tesco Charity Trust, Co-op Foundation), others do not. You
will find that the bigger the company the more likely they are to have their own funding criteria. Smaller, locally based businesses, are less likely to
offer large grants. Some donate money or volunteer time, purely for the good PR it attracts or because they want to be seen supporting the local community.
Companies ‘give’ out of a sense of community responsibility and self-interest. They give to create goodwill within the communities where they operate and
live, to be seen as good citizens; to be good neighbours supporting local charities; and to create good relations with their employees. Some will donate
money raised by staff, or even match funding to monies raised by staff. Some will donate gifts in kind – such as old computers or office equipment, whereas
others will donate staff time, facilities and skills.
If the company is local, it is likely that a personal approach will work best. Keep in mind that, in the case of corporate funding, what you hope to use
the funding for should govern the type of companies you contact. If you require items for an auction you are running, you will need to approach a different
kind of company than if you need money/expertise for repairing a roof.
Many companies are looking at novel and creative ways of continuing or increasing their charitable involvement without actually giving hard cash. Therefore
you need to be very creative in your fundraising requests. Think about including a shopping list of things you need, items that could cost you a lot to
purchase, but maybe donated by a business with very little cost to themselves e.g. rental of meeting rooms, stationary and office equipment, use of payroll
or financial advice.
Who might support an After School Club?
This will depend on what your club is trying to secure funding for. For example, if you are looking for items for an auction or a raffle, you are going to
draw up a different list of companies to approach than if you were looking for funding for an extension to your club. For raffle prizes and auction gifts
you could compile a list of high street stores, local manufacturers, tour operators, local restaurants, leisure and sport facilities etc. For a building
extension, you might draw up a list of builders merchants and architects. Don’t forget to ask local MP’s and TV or Radio celebrities.
Remember that different companies are going to support your club for different reasons. A company with a policy of supporting children’s charities might
support your club because you provide a safe and stimulating place for 4-11 year olds to play, learn and develop. However a company with a predominantly
female and part time workforce may prefer to support your club because your service could enable employees to work productively, safe in the knowledge that
their children are well looked after and happy.
With these sorts of applications remember to check that your application is going to the right contact within the company. In a small company it would
usually go to the Managing, Financial or Personnel Director. Larger companies are more likely to have their own departments to write to – whether Community
Affairs, Public Affairs, or Corporate Support and Marketing. If you are seeking sponsorship then the Marketing Department is usually the best place to
start. It’s always worth a phone call to ensure you specifically target the right person, in the right department, for the right sort of request. This also
saves you wasting valuable time.
The Directory of Social Changes’ Guide to UK Company Giving, and/or other company guides (e.g. Business in the Community) include contact details for
charitable appeals. If this fails, you could just look through your yellow pages for a list of companies in your area. Again, always remember to keep a
record of whom you have approached and their response. It is important to remember to write a thank you letter to anyone that agrees to give you funding or
– Only around half of all company giving is in cash and it is often easier to persuade a local business, particularly one that you may not have had much
contact with before, to give you something tangible, than it is to convince them to give you money. Asking for items to auction or offer as raffle prizes
is often a good approach – restaurants can be asked to donate a dinner for two or a local grocers might be persuaded to offer a hamper. Other forms of
non-monetary support might be to include a flyer for an event you are holding in a staff mailing or allowing you to sell Christmas cards or raffle tickets
around the office. They may also help with things like printing costs (local printers) or donate free goods.
is altogether different. Sponsorship money usually comes from a larger marketing budget and the businesses will almost certainly expect something in
return. It is usually larger companies that offer sponsorship deals and more often than not, sponsorship will only work with charitable organisations.
Generally, sponsorship of voluntary organisations is dealt with in the same way as sponsorship of sporting events. Think about what you can offer the
company in return. If they are sponsoring the cost of a new playground facility, you might want to erect a plaque on the site with the company name on. In
this way, you and the sponsoring company both get something out of the deal – you get the money you wanted to raise for your project, they get free
advertising to the local population and association with your charity by supporting your work.
Often it is a good idea to try and approach companies that have a direct link with your work e.g. children’s play equipment manufacturers who you might
purchase goods from. This is called Cause Related Marketing. In any application to a corporate donor try to think about what you can offer to benefit their
business e.g. free advertising through press releases, informing parents at the scheme of the company’s contribution, producing a ‘thank you’ poster for
display purposes and so on.
Remember that companies spend a great deal of money on advertising, so by making the partnership mutually beneficial. A final word on commercial donations
and sponsorship – think about where the money is coming from. Make sure you are happy to be associated with the company that is giving you money. Are they
ethical? Are they producing products that may be harmful to children or that you are actively opposed to, or that might dissuade other potential funders
from supporting you e.g. would it be right for a childcare organisation to receive funding from an alcohol based company or tobacco firm.