Are you taking full advantage of the corporate giving programs that are out there?

Every day, more and more companies are realizing that philanthropy is good for business. In 2011 alone, corporations donated over $14 billion dollars to nonprofits.

Many of these companies are encouraging their employees to make an impact in the communities that they serve. Companies like IBM, Con Edison, and Pepsi have incredible corporate giving programs to do just that.

Over 65% of Fortune 500 companies offer matching programs. Unfortunately, many nonprofits are missing out simply because employees are unaware that these programs exist.

So what are these corporate giving programs, and how can you connect your donors with them?

Four Kinds of Corporate Giving Programs

Shutterstock 73332046, 73018408, 25761574#4 Get a Monetary Boost from your Volunteers

Employees of many companies can raise money for a nonprofit of their choice simply by volunteering their hours.

Donations from individuals can easily dry up in tough economic times as families cut back on non-essential spending. Volunteer grants provide the amazing opportunity for individuals to raise money for their favorite organization without spending a penny of their own.

Not only are volunteer grants a great way to raise funds (many companies offer a range of 10-15 dollars an hour for volunteering) but they help encourage individuals to volunteer their time to your organization. Individuals looking to make a difference can be satisfied knowing that donating their time also yields a monetary benefit for a cause they care about.

#3 Fund Projects That Impact Your Community

Companies are eager to make a positive impact on the communities they serve.  Finding funding for new projects can often be difficult and stressful, but connecting to existing community grant programs can make a world of difference.

In 2012, Walmart gave $25,000 dollars to the YWCA to expand women’s access to healthcare in Washington State and gave $60,000Walmart to the USO to feed military families throughout the Northwest. Walmart’s total donations to projects in Washington State alone totaled $750,000.

Sometimes being eligible for these grants is as simple as operating in the same geographic area as a company that offers community grants.

#2 Receive Essential Goods and Services For Free

Getting a service for free can be a lot more valuable than a monetary donation. Many companies are willing to volunteer their expertise or goods to organizations that are trying to make a difference.

Tech giant IBM will triple its donation to nonprofits if they opt to receive IBM products instead of money. That means that the money you save from upgrading your computer systems, for instance, could free up capital for any number of other projects.

These programs aren’t limited to giant corporations either. Sometimes it is as simple as partnering with local businesses that have a commitment to change. Restaurants can help cater a fundraising events, a local marketing firm could help you promote it. The possibilities are endless.

#1 Double the Donation!

Donors could be doubling or even tripling their cash donation to an organization and often not even realize it. Many major corporations are encouraging employee philanthropy with their own money matching programs. And there’s no shortage of funds. Microsoft matched $48.9 million dollars in 2011 alone!

One of the myths about corporate matching programs is that they can be difficult for the employee. This couldn’t be further from the truth; receiving these matching funds is often as easy as filling out a form. Unfortunately, information about an employer’s matching program is often lost in a mess of other employee-orientation material or HR files.