It’s important to recognize the differences between corporate philanthropy and corporate sponsorship. Here are seven distinctions:

  1. Corporate philanthropy is motivated by altruism and supports a socially beneficial cause without financial or material reward to the corporation.
  2. Philanthropic gifts could include donations of money, goods, services, and time.
  3. Corporate philanthropy is often managed by an internal community relations team or a corporate foundation. The corporation aims to enhance its image and promote goodwill with stakeholders and the community.
  4. Corporate sponsorship is a mutual business proposition that offers value in exchange for money. Sometimes referred to as cause-related marketing, corporations get a return on their “investment,” enhance their profile, associate their brand with a cause,  and or attract customers who support that cause.
  5. Sponsorship typically involves a contractual relationship between a corporation and a non profit, for profit brands
  6. Another distinction between the two is that some sponsorship costs are eligible for a write off as a full business expense, including: television and digital media placement, co-branded promotional products, and printing.
  7. If  you are a for profit entity, consider partnering with a no- profit that shares your goals. The non-profit can submit proposals on your collective behalf.

This is not an exact science. Increasingly, the line between philanthropy and sponsorship has blurred as some corporations create a hybrid between the two types of giving.


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