Who Doesn’t Want to Raise $16.88 Billion? You Can! With Corporate Relationships.

Guest Post by Jen Filla 

This is the first in a series of three micro-learning pieces focused on how fundraising research can maximize giving from corporate philanthropists.

Are you ignoring existing friends and donors that could provide your organization with major gifts, spotlight your brand in the community, seed new projects, and introduce you to many more potential donors?


Everywhere we go for fundraising training we learn the Giving USA statistics that tell us individuals give the lion’s share of gifts and we should focus on them. And, of course, we should! But too often that means we ignore the full range of possibilities in corporate giving.

Giving USA reported that giving by corporations declined by 6.1% in 2020 to $16.88 billion – but that is still $16.88 billion. When you start considering the multiple ways in which your organization can build a relationship and receive different types of corporate funding, you are likely to find that your organization could be a good fit for some of those $16.88 billion in corporate dollars.

When most people think of corporate giving, they often think of sponsorships. A sponsorship can be a low-level way to engage a company in your cause. Or, a sponsorship can be a way to kickstart a deeper partnership. Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) began their relationship with Lyft when the company sponsored HAAM Day; now HAAM is a nonprofit in Lyft’s Round Up and Give program. –In Good Company

Get the Ebook Here

When you begin researching your corporate donors and prospects it helps to think through the various ways companies express philanthropy, especially as you build relationships with the individuals that work there in various roles.

This was the inspiration behind Aspire’s newest e-book, In Good Company, written by Elisa Shoenberger. The first chapter dives into the variety of giving opportunities that might be available with a company, such as the following:

  • Corporate Direct Giving
  • Matching Gifts
  • Volunteerism
  • Volunteer gifts
  • Challenge and Fundraising Matches
  • Payroll Deductions
  • Corporate gifts-in-kind
  • Annual Giving Stipend
  • Leveraging Donor Employees
  • Digital Resource Donations
  • Introductions to Other companies
  • New Major Gift Prospects


Whether your first gift from a company comes through a sponsorship, a corporate foundation grant, or some other type of giving, it is always based on one or more individual relationships. You might research a company and find zero evidence of giving — and then a pre-existing strong relationship between your organization’s board chair and the CEO results in a significant investment in your organization’s new program! 

Watch the video below for search techniques you can use in iWave to find company information and the individuals you might want to have a relationship with at the company.


iWave’s Corporate Philanthropy Micro Learning Series:

  1. Who Doesn’t Want to Raise $16.88 Billion? You Can! With Corporate Relationships.
  2. Zip Up Your Corporate Partnership — with Alignment
  3. What’s in a Corporate Capacity Rating?

Jennifer Filla is President of Aspire Research Group LLC, a fundraising research consulting firm, and Prospect Research Institute, an online learning community. She can be reached at


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