06.05.23 3 min

Courting corporations by leveraging data

Lisa Greene

Lisa Greene

EVP, Data Axle Nonprofit

Diversification. Every investor knows it is important to diversify your assets. You would never only invest in one type of stock or one mutual fund. Keeping a diverse portfolio allows your investments to stay intact when fluctuations in the market cause one or more sectors to decrease in value. It helps to create sustainable portfolio growth over time.

The importance of donor diversification for nonprofits

Diversification is just as important for sustainable growth when thinking about our donors. Fundraising teams know it is not wise to only focus on the core major gift or leadership annual giving donors. You need to also focus on the up-and-comers who are loyal, the younger generation of sustainers, the reliable mid-level donors, and the long-term retirees who might be good planned giving donors. Diversification of individual donor pools is always front of mind for fundraisers.

Foundation grants are also a great way to add diversity to an organization’s donor pool. A long-term relationship with a large foundation can provide much-needed funding each year, and offer opportunities for capacity building or project-specific funding.

But are there other ways to diversify our portfolio of donors? Of course! And often times the answer is right around the corner – local businesses and corporations. The key here is finding a business that matches your mission and creating a mutually beneficial partnership that can grow over time.

Nonprofit business partnerships in the wild

We see examples of nonprofit-business partnerships every day.

Macy’s and Make-A-Wish partner each holiday season with big mailboxes in all Macy’s stores, where for each letter to Santa that is put in a Macy’s mailbox, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish benefits from the gift and Macy’s benefits from the increased number of potential shoppers in their stores.

(RED) is another great example. The organization has been partnering with large corporations like The Gap and Apple for decades to raise funds to fight AIDS. In this type of partnership, a portion of the proceeds from sales of select products go to the charity.

The Macy’s-Make-A-Wish partnership and (RED) are very large-scale partnerships. However, nonprofits of all sizes can create business partnerships to generate revenue and diversify funding streams. Think of your small local education nonprofit. They can partner with the local credit union that serves teachers to do an awareness campaign where for each new checking account opened in a given time period, $10 is donated to the education nonprofit. Or a local climate-change nonprofit might be holding a beach clean-up event for Earth Day and turn to local businesses for sponsorship – both monetary and in-kind.

How do you attract businesses to your cause?

The key to being successful in attracting the right business and corporate partners is data – but you saw that coming didn’t you? You can use your data to identify businesses and corporations that have mutual goals, interests or mission ties and whose employees or customers match your prospect donor audience. But you will need a breadth and depth of clean, actionable data to help guide your efforts.

Luckily, Data Axle can help! We leverage our extensive co-operative databases, Apogee and DonorBase, combined with our business database and cutting-edge cloud-based AI models. We have human-verified data on over 17 million businesses, from large corporations to small mom and pop shops. We can help you identify businesses with customer demographics similar to your organization’s constituents, allowing your organization to form lasting relationship to diversify and sustain your revenue streams.

Contact us to get started.

Lisa Greene

Written by Lisa Greene, EVP, Data Axle Nonprofit

Lisa leads a team of professionals supporting a wide array of partners and providing strategic insight to further missions.