Engaging Corporations and Their Employees Through Volunteer Opportunities

06 April 2015

Corporate fundraising is a constantly shifting landscape; charitable giving budgets have been slashed, and companies are under increasing pressure to see a return on their community investments.

Corporate culture has changed too, and large organizations prefer to give where their employees are involved. To be successful in engaging companies in your non-profit’s mission and securing support (through charitable giving, sponsorships, or cause marketing partnerships), you generally shouldn’t approach with an ask right away. You must find other ways to involve the company and its employees; this can be achieved a number of ways, but let’s focus on recruiting the organization in volunteer projects with your non-profit.

Find a contact within the organization who works in HR, internal communications, or another similar area, and ask if they’d be willing to speak with you about organizing volunteer opportunities for their employees. Try to schedule an in-person visit by offering to come by their offices or give them a tour of your facilities or latest project site, and walk them through your mission and ways volunteers can help. It’s also possible, especially for a larger company, that they have a volunteer fair they’d allow you to set up an information and sign-up booth. It’s likely they have an internal volunteer board or email list serve that they’d be willing to use to share your non-profit’s volunteer opportunities.

Once you get a group signed up to participate with you, make sure to take photos and follow-up with your contact within the organization about how it went. When you have established a successful working relationship in this way, you are in an ideal position to strategize a sponsor partnership, a corporate foundation partnership, or a grass-roots employee match fundraising effort.

We’ll talk more in-depth about other ways to partner with corporations at USFR’s Fundamentals of Fundraising Day on April 22nd. Hope to see you there!


Ashley Magnus serves as Director of Corporate Partnerships at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, with seven years in the non-profit arts industry. She holds an MBA from the University of Utah, and currently resides in Salt Lake City.

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