How to Convince Corporations to Give to Your University

Corporate donations to universities are big business, and significant endowments are the lifeblood of a college. Large gifts, like the $400 million donated to Stanford University by Nike co-founder and chairman Phillip Knight that will fund programs and research for years to come.

The reasons why corporations give to universities are many; they include both emotional and financial goals. Convincing companies to donate money, gifts and time to a university can be difficult, but it’s not an impossible task.

You can convince corporations to give to your university with these strategies:

  1. Tell a story

People relate to stories, and if you can create a compelling narrative that focuses on charity, empathy, and storytelling, you will have unlocked the key to corporate generosity. Data is essential to the brain, but real stories of students who achieve their dreams will move people’s hearts.

By revealing some of the stories of students impacted by corporate giving, universities have an improved chance of securing corporate gifts.

  1. Ask an alum

Alumni often have an affinity for their alma maters.

Ask successful former students to keynote a luncheon or present a topic of interest to students and faculty. By re-engaging alumni with their university, colleges are more likely to be remembered favorably when asked for a donation.

  1. Show benefit

One of the best benefits of corporate giving is the opportunity to create a business-university partnership. Yale University, for example, seeks to “create mutually beneficial relationships,” and the University of Colorado-Boulder encourages the “development of tomorrow’s engineering workforce and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies.” Working together for the greater good appeals to corporations, and it benefits countless students.

Universities who can articulate these benefits with clarity are more likely to receive corporate donations.

  1. Make it easy to give

Charitable giving can help big businesses leverage their bottom line; corporate America likes the tax breaks they get from their philanthropic generosity.

Corporations also need to know how to give. Your university web page can provide the information corporate leadership needs by describing your mission and vision, explaining where and how the funds are used, and providing contact information.

Offer assistance in creating press releases and media events to recognize the corporation for their philanthropy.

Ultimately, giving is about creating connections.

People like to help out because it makes them feel good to know they made a difference. You can make a difference by knowing how to help corporations give to your university.

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