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Emily Hawkins

6 Things to Look for in a Corporate Fundraising Platform

If you need to raise some money, then you need to know more about whom you're raising it from.

With the prevalence of millennials in the modern workforce, organizations that prioritize social good are more attractive workplaces than ever. The Association for Fundraising Professionals reports, “Millennials expect the companies they work for to give back and are more likely to work for companies that they believe have a sense of purpose and are making an impact.” Millennials want to work at companies that prioritize social good, putting corporate giving in the spotlight with more than $4 billion dollars raised on an annual basis.

Defined as “pursuing a relationship with a nonprofit that involves a gift, commitment of support or other monetary transfer from the fundraising party,” corporate fundraising is a great way to engage employees and give back as an organization.

As your employees rally around a cause, you’ll need a system for fundraising in order to make your fundraiser the best it can possibly be. Without a corporate fundraising platform, your efforts around the fundraiser, donation collection, and overall messaging can get disjointed. So, when you’re ready to dive head-first into the corporate fundraising space, here are six must-haves you should look for in a corporate fundraising platform for optimal engagement.

1. Ease of use
This should almost go without saying--the platform you utilize should be easy for any and all of your company members and donors to use. If there’s confusion around how to do something within the system, the user is likely to abandon the task at hand. Look for a user-friendly platform with support services available. (Bonus points if the platform lets you set up an entire fundraising campaign in less than 20 minutes.)

2. Branding control
Part of an easy set-up process is making sure that your corporate fundraising page reflects your organization and the nonprofit you’re supporting. If the page doesn’t accurately represent your brand, potential donors may be confused about what and who they’re donating to and may leave without donating at all. Even simple features like having the correct colors can increase brand recognition by 80 percent. A platform should have ample abilities for customization for both your organization’s main page and team pages.

3. Team abilities
Dividing your organization into teams helps to foster friendly competition--think: the marketing department vs. the finance department vs. sales department. Creating teams can lend itself to the development of camaraderie among coworkers, especially when you’re competing for a good cause. A great corporate fundraising platform sets itself apart from a good platform with gamification capabilities like goal setting and leaderboards.

Leaderboards help everyone involved in the fundraiser gain a real-time view of the fundraising team leaders, goals completed, and what they’ll need to do to catch up. With these capabilities, a friendly competition can go a long way in raising money for a good cause.

4. Social plug-ins
Social media has a huge impact on the success level of fundraising campaigns. On average, campaigns whose donors share on social media raise three times as much money as those that don’t. You’ve probably even seen some of the people you follow post about campaigns they care about via social networks. Choosing a platform that understands the power of social media is crucial in this day and age. Qualified platforms should be utilizing built-in plugins to make social sharing easy for both fundraisers and donors to cultivate peer-to-peer connections that make social fundraising all the more powerful.

5. Communication tools
Not to be confused with social sharing, communication tools are a beneficial feature for fundraiser admins and team members. An important part of fundraising is keeping your team members and donors updated on progress and new information. By keeping your followers in-the-know with campaign progress, you’re likely to spur extra donations, especially if you use video. In fact, video updates are 5.7 times more likely to bring in a donation than not sending an update. Your platform needs to have these update tools in place in order to empower both administrators and team members to keep in touch with donors.

6. Optimized data
You did it! You completed your fundraiser and you hit your monetary goal. Now that you have all of that new donor data, you can’t just sit on it. Your fundraising platform should make this easy for you by optimizing donor data for future use. With a platform, you’ll be able to stay in touch with donors, sending them results of your campaign, promotions for your products, and notifying them of future events and fundraisers.

Running a corporate fundraiser is not an easy task, but by utilizing a corporate fundraising platform, many of the organizational components are streamlined through easy setup, data optimization, social sharing, and more. This way, you’ll be free to focus on the friendly competition component of the campaign, raising the most money out of your organization, and truly making an impact on a deserving nonprofit.

Emily Hawkins is the vice president of strategic partnerships and business development for CrowdRise. She spends her days forging partnerships and developing creative campaigns with forward-thinking corporations and foundations. Emily has spent the last 10 years working with nonprofits and political campaigns. In her free time, she's training to be the best chalkboard artist in the three-block radius of her Brooklyn neighborhood.


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