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Corporate Partnerships

Get Started

Before you start looking for potential nonprofit partners, take the time to get clear about your corporate goals. Do you want to gain visibility for your company? Increase employee engagement? Grow your corporate social responsibility? Set up a committee to find out what kind of experiences and organizations your employees are interested in supporting―engaging staff from the outset can generate buy-in.

Narrow Down Organizations

Identifying a non-profit whose mission aligns with your company’s can make for a great partnership. Once you’ve decided which cause or sector your company would like to support, it’s time to start researching. Explore SPARK to find out what organizations are looking for volunteers or browse 211Ontario.ca, which lists every non-profit organization in the province. As well, talk to employees who already volunteer for a non-profit. You may already have a connection to a great organization!

Communicate Expectations

Once you’ve come up with at least three potential organizations, find the contact information for the executive director or other key decision makers. Schedule an in-person meeting to talk about what your company does and why you want to be involved with their organization. To ensure the partnership is the right fit, be clear about the time commitment and financial contributions you are willing to offer as well as your expectations. Be open to their suggestions―they may have a set of needs that you overlooked.

Be Persistent

You may discover that one or more non-profit organizations decline to partner with you because they are overstretched and do not have the capacity to make it partnership work. Take heart, although it may take a little time and effort, chances are good that you’ll find an organization that not only is aligned with your company’s mission and values but has the resources to manage corporate volunteers.  

Three Ways Companies Can Help Non-Profits:

  • By donating time: Many non-profits don’t have enough staff to provide services or programs needed by the communities they serve. You may be able to provide volunteers for activities ranging from a one-time charity walk to a long-term commitment in several different departments.  
  • By donating talent: Non-profit organizations often have small training budgets. Maybe one of your techies can train staff on website design or the financial wizard in your company could show the board of directors how to interpret financial reports.
  • By donating money: Non-profits always need more funding. They particularly value corporate donations, which typically don’t have as many strings attached as other grants. A financial donation may make the difference in whether an organization can afford to work with you.
Messages of Hope on a Grey Day

Your Stories

Reflections of a student volunteer: I think that I will always remember Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Driving to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre I doubted how drawing messages on the sidewalk with chalk could make a substantial effect on a person's life. It was a cold and wet day with no sun. Our class pulled up in our yellow school bus at about 9:15 am, our teacher directed us to this open, garden like area with sidewalks at the very front of the hospital. From this area we could see many windows from which patients, doctors, nurses, etc. would soon be seeing our art. Our class of 39 students split into two groups. My group toured the hospital first. What I gained most from this tour was an understanding of what patients would be experiencing daily. Seeing the patients that were fighting to live and understanding their treatments helped me to understand how great our impact would be. Stepping out of the hospital and seeing all the messages that the other group had written was absolutely inspiring. All together my classmates and I drew sidewalk chalk drawings for two hours, writing inspiring messages like “You Go Girl!”, “We are Proud of You”, “You're Doing Great!” etc., making drawings, and just putting colours on the dull sidewalk. Our hands were cold but our excitement for the patients to see the finished product kept us going. I remember seeing patients walk by and smile. This helped me to see our impact. At the very end of the two hours I walked down the whole garden area that we had drawn on, wishing I could see how the patients would see it from the windows. I saw so many bright messages, and drawings and prayed that the patients would be able to make out what they said. I remember thinking “We made a difference. I made a difference.” I left feeling like I was somewhat connected with the patients up in the hospital looking down at us. On the ride home we got a message from one of the doctors, a student’s mother, who we had seen before we starting drawing. It read “Please thank everyone. The messages are so big and bright. You can see them so well from the windows. Sandra, our chief nurse in the systemic suite, is telling all the patients to have a look.” On this dreary, cold, gross day, all the patients, both fighting to kill cancer and fighting to live with it, would be looking out the windows and seeing our messages. Families with kids our age and younger would look out the window and feel happy, maybe forgetting for a minute about how their loved one is struggling to fight cancer, or being inspired to feel that they can keep fighting. This service initiative left me knowing that I could make a change, that in this huge world with 7.53 billion people, I myself could help. -- Abby S.

On Tues. May 28, 2019, the Grade 9 class of St. John's-Kilmarnock school filled the sidewalks in fron...

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Great stuff from around the world. Check back often to see what's new!

Bank of America has taken a different approach to funding community development initiatives. Rather than investing in the delivery of specific community programs, they invest in the leadership and operational capacity of the nonprofit organizations who do the work. Watch this video to see some of the amazing things they have made possible over the last 10 years.

A new report suggests corporations need to think differently about how they partner with nonprofits to gain greater social impact. Read the article here

Great tips on creating a sucessful partnership between a business and not for profit organization. Learn about how Hewlitt Packard Canada and World Wildlife Fund Canada partnered to meet their shared goal of sustainability.

Bell ‘Let’s Talk’ is a campaign that really connects what the company does with the issue they are interested in supporting. 

Habitat for Humanity Canada has an excellent guide for corporate partners called ‘Be a Partner in Something Big’. Check it out!

Although this pocket guide by the Hitachi Foundation is targeted for non-profits, it provides helpful info about the process of building corporate partnerships.

Have a look at this great CSR example between MiiR and One Day’s Wages to see how a corporate partnership can make a big difference for a cause and an organization.

Check out this tool developed by a CSR and sustainability consulting firm that can help you assess the state of your CSR strategy. Click on ‘Evaluate your CSR’

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