How to tap corporate philanthropy in support of ed tech

You might find that the more recognition a company receives, the more successful you’ll be in securing corporate ed-tech support.

Grants & Funding column, January 2012 edition of eSchool News—Is corporate philanthropy a part of your grant-seeking efforts? If not, here’s some basic information to get you started in examining this potential source of support for your school or district.

According to the book Everybody’s Business: Managing Risks and Opportunities in Today’s Global Society, by David Grayson and Adrian Hodges, corporations provide support with a variety of words beginning with “p”—profits, people, product, power, purchasing, and promotion. Corporations have a variety of different models they use to provide this support.

A corporate foundation follows regulations that govern other private foundations. These foundations are separate from the parent company; however, their giving usually reflects the corporation’s values and interests.

A corporate giving program is not separate from the company and does not follow the regulations that exist for private foundations. Often, corporate giving programs are a source of funds for causes that would not meet a corporate foundation’s guidelines, such as giving funds for a golf tournament or a gala. Corporate giving programs allow a corporation to receive the direct benefits from this type of activity, such as tickets to the gala for their employees.

Corporations can offer either type of support or both. Grant seekers need to research what giving options a corporation has and ask for the right type of support from the right type of vehicle. Two examples of companies that have both corporate foundations and corporate giving programs are Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

For more grant-seeking advice from Deb Ward, see also:

Tips for effective grant evaluation

Six questions to ask before applying for a grant

Seven strategies for successful grants management

Ten grant-writing resolutions for the new year

Corporations offer grants to support projects (sometimes including capital, matching, and challenge grants), matching gifts that match the contributions their employees make to organizations, and service grants in which their employees volunteer their time. Corporations also can provide in-kind contributions to organizations, such as product or service donations or loaned equipment and facilities. And finally, corporate employees can donate their paid release time to organizations, and corporate employees can serve on boards providing technical assistance and/or expertise.

To begin researching the potential for corporate philanthropy to support your needs, I recommend that you contact your local Chamber of Commerce and request a list of the top 20, 50, or 100 employers in your community, depending on its size. It’s important to keep in mind that most corporations restrict their giving to the locations where they do business and/or where their employees live and work.

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