Corporate Partners Fundraising Series, Part 3: 6 Ways to Research Potential Partners

This PLTW Blog entry is an excerpt from the PLTW Fundraising Toolkit. You can download the full toolkit here.

As you begin researching potential corporate partners, we suggest starting local.

Why? Not only is your program more likely to be supported by local business and industry – these organizations are also more likely to become long-term supporters. And why is having a long-term corporate partner preferable over a one-time partner? Fundraising research shows us that it takes much less time, money, and effort to maintain and grow a fundraising partnership than to constantly bring on new partners.

Note when we refer to local business and industry, we are including companies headquartered in your region, branches of large companies, local chain retailers, as well as local small businesses. Some companies, especially larger ones, will have a website with information about their giving practices. Corporate giving may be called corporate social responsibility, community investments, community affairs, or philanthropy.

Below is a list of sources to consider as your start your local fundraising efforts.

1. Employers That Can Share in the Value of Students Participating in PLTW

Think about the career pathway(s) of the PLTW programs you wish to implement. How might employers in the region see shared value in building a community of students who are prepared with in-demand skills in computer science, engineering, and/or biomedical science?

2. Economic and Workforce Development Organizations and Chambers of Commerce

A few great resources for potential partners are your local and regional economic and workforce development organizations, as well as chambers of commerce. Not only will they likely have a directory of local employers, but they can also be an excellent resource for bringing those employers together around your PLTW goals.

3. Regional and Local Banks

Some banks serve as trustees of charitable trusts of deceased individuals. In this role, a bank manages and administers grants from trusts that are endowed through that bank. Ask your local or regional bank staff about whether they administer trusts, and if so, request a meeting with the trust administrator to determine if your school and PLTW program matches the focus and funding requirements of any of those trusts.

4. Local Chain Retailers and Local Businesses

Some large retailers have monetary- and merchandise-donation programs, and of those, many administer those programs through local stores. These local stores may have a pool of funds allocated to providing grants to local nonprofits and schools. To request a donation from your local store, you may need to take an eligibility quiz, fill out an application, or speak to the store manager.

In addition, dentists, doctors, insurance agents, gas stations, realtors, and grocery stores are all great places to start.

5. Employee-Matching Programs

Some companies, retailers included, have employee-match programs whereby the company will “match” donations employees make to a nonprofit or school. You can maximize support for your PLTW programs by engaging in conversations with friends, family, and parents of students employed by companies that offer a matching gift program.

6. School Vendors and Service Providers

Determine your school’s vendors and service providers. Speak with vendor and service contacts about whether they have product-donation or grant opportunities for which your school may be eligible.