Corporate fundraising is a great way for companies to raise money for charitable donations, cause marketing programs, community resources, or in support of a partner nonprofit organization. Corporate fundraising initiatives have been around for decades, but with increasing awareness about global warming, depletion of natural resources, and other global environmental and poverty issues, companies are becoming more conscious of the effects their business has on our global world. For this reason, many companies now invest in corporate fundraising initiatives and cause marketing programs in an effort to give-back and be more sustainable in their business practices.
Regardless of the purpose behind a corporate fundraiser, there are a number of considerations your team will need to review in order to make the most of your corporate fundraising campaign. Below are some basic guidelines that may help you in your planning efforts.
Launching a Corporate Fundraising Campaign
Launching a corporate fundraising campaign may feel a bit overwhelming at first. After all, organizing the right corporate fundraising initiative to support your cause takes proper planning, creativity, numerous resources and time management skills. Yet, with the right planning tools and teamwork, your office can raise a large amount of money for a worthy cause.
One of the first principles associated with corporate fundraising is identifying how much money you intend to raise, and what budget and resources you have (or need) to accomplish your goals. Run your fundraiser like a small business. Create a written project plan that spells out goals and outlines roles and responsibilities. Assign motivated individuals into managing roles and equip them with the tools to do a great job.
Refer to our fundraising tips for more detailed guidelines to help your organization maximize fundraising results.
Planning Corporate Fundraising Events
The best corporate fundraising efforts are generally event based. Hosting fun fundraising events helps your organization to share the campaign with employees. Taking adequate time to prepare your corporate fundraising events is also critical. Select your fundraising program as early as possible so your organization has time to identify fundraising sources, recruit participants and volunteers, create promotional materials and inform media, etc. Implement a fundraising software solution to help manage the various details of a corporate fundraising initiative including: registering participants and volunteers, collecting online donations, managing budgets, monitoring event check-lists, and creating administrative and progress reports for staff.
Corporate fundraisers happen throughout the year, and there is no reason why your organization can’t create a truly unique fundraising experience for your employees and community. First and foremost, think about your organization’s mission, and what you are trying to accomplish with your fundraiser, and then craft a theme that helps you communicate your cause.
Example: Say your organization launches a cause marketing program in support of wind power. Your goal is to raise funds to off-set energy usage throughout your community with wind power. Why not host a “Wind-a-thon” and bring everyone together in a community park to fly kites and raise money in support of wind power? Perhaps you can hand out small wind-blowers with your corporate logo or balloons and have everyone release their balloons at once and watch as the power of the wind takes them away. Unique ideas like this will not only create a memorable fundraising event for staff, participants and event attendees, but may also help you attract the attention of local media.
Our #1 Corporate Fundraising Idea: Company Walk-a-thons
Why not encourage employees to achieve their fitness goals while raising money for a good cause? A walk-a-thon fundraising event promotes team bonding, community interaction, and provides a great opportunity to raise money for a charity or cause while promoting health and fitness. It also offers a fun, interactive event that most everyone can participate in. Benefits also include possibly attracting interest from local media, helping to grow awareness of your business and cause.
And, there’s no saying the walk-a-thon has to happen in one day. Try something new…what about a walk-a-thon marathon where participants are challenged to walk a certain number of miles each week? It’s very easy to manage with peer-to-peer management software which manages event details and allows participants to easily track miles and donations. This type of event extends the duration of your fundraising campaign and provides additional benefits to participants prolonging their challenge and rewards.
Reach out to local businesses (such as fitness clubs or health food stores) to sponsor the event, or donate prizes for a fundraising raffle to include as part of your walk-a-thon event.
More Great Corporate Fundraisers
Here are 5 more proven ideas for reliably fun corporate fundraisers.
Who doesn’t love getting together with friends and co-workers for a fun night of bowling and beer? A great corporate fundraising event idea is to have employees set up bowling teams and compete with one another at a bowling tournament. Bowlers can ask friends to make donations in support of the cause on your bowl-a-thon website. Read how to organize a bowl-a-thon fundraiser.
Every office has some great singers and workers with budding musical talent. Get everyone together at a local pub or private venue for Karaoke night. Sell tickets for admission as well as drinks and refreshments to raise funds. With this type of event (and virtually any corporate fundraising event), you can raise additional funds with a silent auction and fundraising raffle ticket sales.
Wine Tasting Fundraisers
Wine tasting events are another fun way to get co-workers socializing for a good cause. This type of fundraiser is a great learning opportunity as well. Wine merchants or distributors setup tables or stations and your employees get to roam around and taste all kinds of wines. Be sure to include some food as well – cheese, crackers and fruit are always popular. To pull this fundraiser off, your planning committee will need to include at least one wine connoisseur to be your wine expert and assist with bringing in others in the wine industry.
Corporate Golf Events
Corporate golf events are not only a great way to foster better business relationships, but they are also a great way to show appreciation for employees and raise money for your cause….all great ways to grow your business. When organizing a charity golf tournament for your company, keep in mind that the tournament is a representation of your company. Therefore, you’ll want to be organized, and professional. You’ll also want to make the event something to remember. Don’t make it all about business…make it fun! Include golf course contests to get players involved, and include activities for those who might not golf. Add a fundraising BBQ to take place after the golf tournament where non-golfers can also attend. Host a charity auction as part of your event, providing a way for all employees and business partners to participate. Proper golf tournament planning tools and online golf tournament software can help you manage all the details of your corporate golf event efficiently and professionally.
Bike-to-Work Week Fundraisers
Bike to Work Days or Weeks have become popular fundraising events in recent years as people have become more conscious of the effects of global warming, and therefore look for more efficient means to get from point A to point B, such as biking or public transport.
These biking events work especially well for companies located in places where biking and outdoor activities are common. It’s also a great way to strengthen your brand positioning if you are a company that promotes health, fitness and sustainable living. This type of event is very similar to a bike-a-thon event however happens throughout the duration of a work-week rather than one day. Participants collect pledges based on the total miles they will bike to and from work each day (or donors can also choose to donate a set amount).
Still looking? Check out our unique fundraising event ideas for more information and ideas.
Motivating Your Team
First, make sure that staff and participants know why money is being raised. They need to know that they are contributing to a worthy cause and believe they will be making a difference.
Motivate your team extrinsically with enthusiasm and incentives. Provide prizes for top-performing participants or teams who raise the most. Create a fundraising website where participants and sponsors can share photos, quotes, and raise money. Your organization can post a fundraising thermometer to track current progress against goals. Comparing goals to current progress is a great motivator for fundraising participants.
Make it Fun
Most of all, make your fundraising event fun! Remember that participants and volunteers are giving up their free time to help. If you are planning a large fundraising event, provide meals and an exciting environment that people enjoy being a part of. If you don’t have the budget for a large fundraising campaign, don’t underestimate the value of smaller in-house corporate fundraising campaigns. One company created an interesting workplace fundraiser where employees were encouraged to bring in old gift certificates – either ones that were never used or had a small balance remaining. The company used a service to extract the additional dollars from these gift cards and donate these funds to a charitable cause. A corporate fundraising campaign like this may motivate employees intrinsically. They feel proud to work for a company contributing to charitable causes and striving to be more sustainable. And, they feel good about themselves for directly contributing to a worthy cause. If employees feel good about the company they work for, chances are, they may feel better about their work, which could help improve overall performance within your organization.