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  • Writer's pictureS3 Solutions

How to Develop a Corporate Fundraising Plan in 5 Steps

How to develop a corporate fundraising plan featured image
Knowing how to develop a corporate fundraising plan is crucial for any growing charity. Image credit: JESHOOTS.COM

For many charities, corporate donations are a lucrative and sustainable form of funding. However, they’re also one of the most challenging, as you need to help donors meet their goals. As such, you’ll need a proper corporate fundraising plan to succeed.

Large companies make charitable donations for a wide variety of reasons. Some are concerned with their corporate image, others allow their employees to choose deserving causes each year. Others may have causes which are close to their leaders’ hearts.

In essence, a corporate fundraising plan is your chance to illustrate why your charity is the best placed to meet these goals, whatever they may be.

Today, we’re going to look at the concrete steps you need to take to develop an effective corporate fundraising plan.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Identify the Core Problem You’d Like to Solve

As with any fundraising strategy, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you’d actually like to achieve. Probably more than any other stream of funding, corporate donors are primarily concerned with results.

Start by having a clear pitch for the following information:

  • The problem you’d like to solve,

  • Why this matters,

  • Your solution to the problem,

  • The impact you expect to have,

  • Why you are qualified to implement your solution.

The key thing here that many charities fail to understand is choosing an appropriate level of analysis. That is, choosing an appropriate scope for your work. Often, this comes down to choosing a realistic scope of work to maximise the impact of your change model.

For example, you probably have an overarching mission for your organisation. This might be something fairly abstract, like improving community wellbeing. However, this can mean a wide range of things, so it’s important to zoom in on something a little bit more concrete.

The goal is to have a quantifiable goal, which will be crucial in the later steps of developing a corporate fundraising plan. So, under the umbrella of community wellbeing, you might choose to focus on access to support services, within a specific age group.

You can then use this narrower scope to create a strong pitch for the other elements outlined above.

2. Analyse and Identify Corporate Funding Sources

Next, it’s time to figure out where you’re going to look for funding. This means coming up with a wish list of corporations you think you can convince to donate to your cause. This is an important stage, as many charities get complacent after finding one corporate donor.

This creates a range of problems.

Any time you become dependent on a single donor, you’re setting yourself up for a headache down the line. You want to have a diverse range of corporate donors, so that if something goes wrong with one of them, you don’t encounter cash flow problems.

Corporate fundraising plan research at computer photo
Research the organisations which are most likely to support your cause. Image credit: Tyler Franta

The primary sources of corporate funding are:

  • Trusts and foundations,

  • Companies,

  • Wealthy individuals,

  • Local organisations and civic society.

Any of these might make donations in the form of finances, time, resources, or other support.

For many smaller organisations, it’s typically a good idea to look in your local area first. Seek out other organisations and businesses in your community who share your goals and values, and prioritise these in your initial corporate fundraising efforts.

3. Establish a Corporate Fundraising Structure

When you develop a corporate fundraising plan, you’ll also need to ensure that you have the capacity to implement and manage it. This means having people in your team with the expertise and time to conduct effective corporate fundraising.

Depending on your situation, you might take on a dedicated member of staff, form a volunteer fundraising committee, or hire a fundraising consultant to manage this.

In any case, the goals are the same. Your fundraising structures are essential to carry out the day to day work of identifying, securing and managing new corporate funding opportunities.

This also helps you to manage the expectations of donors, and form long-term relationships, to ensure sustainable funding.

4. Quantify the Impact of Your Work

Before you put pen to paper, you’ll need to be able to prove to corporate donors that your work makes an impact. In other words, you’ll need a convincing track record of using donations to drive results.

Of course, this is easier when you’re an established charity, as you’ll have a wider range of case studies and testimonials to draw on.

The key here is to quantify your work in terms of the social impact it has had. That is, you’ll need to be able to attach a metric of success to every penny of funding you’ve spent on projects in the past.

The bigger the impact you can have for each donation, the easier it will be to attract corporate funders.

Corporate fundraising plan - quantify impact
It's crucial to quantify the impact of your work for corporate donors. Image credit: Adeolu Eletu

You should also conduct the same impact assessments for each project before it begins.

As crucial as it is to prove the impact of your previous projects, corporate donors are also concerned with how you plan to use their money, and the results they can expect to see.

Beyond this, adding impact assessments into your project planning process helps to create a crucial level of credibility. This shows that you have carefully considered how you will spend donations, which builds confidence among corporate donors.

Having a strong assessment of the expected impact of your project is also important if you’re a newer organisation, or you’re carrying out a project in a certain area for the first time, and don’t have case studies to fall back on.

5. Submit Bids for Corporate Funding

Finally, it’s time to actually bid for corporate funding. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach here. The reality is that every organisation has its own requirements, which you’ll need to adhere to.

However, there are some broad trends for each of the main types of corporate donors we saw above. For example, almost all trusts and foundations have firm bidding requirements, which you’ll need to meet.

Other corporate funding sources may have a formal bidding process too, especially if they are larger organisations, or frequent charitable donors. However, for businesses, civic society and individual funders, things can often be a little bit more fluid.

Often, this means that you’ll have to first establish a relationship with the potential donor, in order to build their interest in your cause. Eventually, you may need to submit a formal fundraising plan after this.

If you want to develop a corporate fundraising plan, your best option is often to work with a fundraising consultant and /or bid writing consultant. This is a complex process, and it pays to work with an experienced team in the field of funding and bid writing.

To find out more about securing corporate funding, contact S3 Solutions today.


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