Why did my nonprofit receive a check from a CSR vendor?

CSR vendors and matching gift software can each help improve the corporate giving process

Let’s say you’re going through your nonprofit’s mail when you notice a check from a company you’ve never heard of before. After conducting a quick Google search, you determine that the sender is what’s known as a “CSR vendor.”

Interesting. But where did it come from? And what does this mean for your organization?

It helps to first understand the overall purpose of CSR vendors. These software providers facilitate workplace giving programs like matching gifts and volunteer grants. So, if you received a check from a CSR vendor, it likely means one (or more) of your supporters participated in a giving program through their employer⁠—thus, directing funds to your organization.

In this resource, our team will share deeper insights into the world of CSR vendors and their use, how you should respond, and why this is important for nonprofits like yours. We’ll cover the following key topics:

Growing your knowledge of corporate giving software can enable your team to better manage your fundraising efforts, engage with donors and corporations, and collect more revenue overall.

Ready to learn more about these innovative solutions with our complete guide? Let’s dive in!

What are CSR vendors?

What Are CSR Vendors?

CSR, also known as corporate social responsibility, is a concept followed by hundreds of thousands of businesses aiming to make a positive difference in the world around them. This often occurs through nonprofit-business partnerships and workplace giving initiatives.

In order to simplify the processes involved in corporate philanthropy, CSR vendors have developed innovative software to help companies organize, track, and manage corporate giving efforts.

Though specific functionality varies by provider, CSR vendors may help businesses conduct programs such as:

For a nonprofit looking to benefit from corporate social responsibility initiatives like these, CSR vendor software can play a huge role in the behind-the-scenes processes that make them happen.

Examples of Common CSR Vendors to Look Out For

CSR vendors can be referred to by a number of different titles—including corporate giving, workplace giving, and employee giving platforms. And there is a wide range of solutions available to the business community that leverages these tools for their philanthropy.

While you won’t be purchasing a CSR platform for your own fundraising efforts, understanding the key players in the industry can play a significant role in maximizing your corporate partnership revenue. After all, how would you even know that your organization received a check from a corporate giving vendor if you didn’t know which names to keep an eye out for? You probably wouldn’t!

That said, check out this list of some of the most common examples of workplace giving vendors:

  • Benevity: Benevity is a Canadian-based B Corp, founded in 2008, that provides companies with powerful solutions for employee donations, gift matching, volunteerism, and community grant management.
  • YourCause: YourCause is a CSR platform powered by Blackbaud to provide a wide range of businesses with disaster relief, campaign giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, matching gift tools, and more.
  • CyberGrants: Since 1999, CyberGrants has assisted corporations of all shapes and sizes in achieving significant social impact through employee giving and company matching, grants management, disaster relief, and volunteerism⁠—just to name a few.

While those are the top three providers, there are tons of other smaller CSR vendors that also manage workplace giving initiatives that you won’t want to overlook. These alternatives are especially important to pay attention to if you have a lot of local community donors that work for small businesses.

Here are a few more platforms you might see:

  • Selflessly: Selflessly was developed in 2018 as an affordable CSR management platform designed for small and mid-sized companies looking to improve and increase their employee giving, corporate matching, and volunteering efforts.
  • Millie: With innovative and flexible tools for fundraising, volunteering, donation matching, employee giving stipends, grants, and more, Millie has been working to “democratize giving” for companies since 2018.
  • Point: Point is a social impact platform designed to aid both nonprofits and companies with overall philanthropy efforts. On the corporate side, Point offers donation matching, employee volunteerism, in-kind giving management, and more.
  • America’s Charities: Developed in 1980, America’s Charities was one of the first CSR vendors to roll out digital workplace giving. Since then, this platform has helped manage matching gifts, volunteerism, grantmaking, and other forms of workplace giving.
  • Bright Funds: Since its launch in 2012, Bright Funds has provided companies of all sizes with innovative solutions for payroll integrations, corporate volunteerism, gift matching, grant management, and extensive reporting.

Common CSR vendor examples
If one or more of these companies are cropping up as “donors” in your fundraising CRM, it means your organization is directly benefiting from corporate philanthropy.

Make sure these contributors are marked in your database as CSR vendors! This way, you can properly attribute gifts to the individual donors who secured the company match on your behalf.

CSR Vendors vs. Matching Gift Software

Now that you have a baseline understanding of corporate giving vendors, you might be asking yourself how these platforms compare to matching gift software like Double the Donation.

The simple answer is that corporate social responsibility vendors facilitate matching gift programs while matching gift software helps donors access those programs. Successful corporate giving efforts make use of both.

To view these software differences in more detail, take a look at this overview of CSR vendors and what they do:

  • This type of software is typically purchased by companies offering matching gifts.
  • The target user for the software is the purchasing company’s employees who are interested in participating in workplace giving opportunities.
  • CSR management software simplifies matching gift submissions and approvals for both employee donors and company leadership.
  • CSR platforms often manage matching gift requests for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

Now, let’s compare those to matching gift software:

  • This type of software is purchased by nonprofit organizations aiming to make the most of matching gifts.
  • The target users for matching gift software are nonprofit donors looking to determine whether their past or future gifts are eligible for company matches.
  • Matching gift software provides users with comprehensive matching gift company guidelines, including donation minimums and maximums, match ratios, submission deadlines, qualifying types of organizations and employees, and more.
  • A matching gift software database typically offers information on thousands of businesses and affiliates.

Here's how a CSR vendor compares to matching gift software

As an employee donor completes an online gift, they tend to utilize both types of corporate giving tools. Typically, they’ll interact with the organization’s matching gift software earlier on in the process, where they’re led to a CSR platform afterward.

For example, many nonprofits embed a matching gift company search tool within their donation form or gift confirmation page (hint: if you don’t already, you should). Here, donors are prompted to enter their employer’s name in the provided search bar to retrieve the company’s matching gift program guidelines and submission forms from a comprehensive database.

When donors follow the matching gift request instructions provided by the database software, they’re often led to a CSR vendor utilized by their employer. Then, they’re able to log into the corporate giving site with their employment information. Once they complete a simple online form, they can request their donation match directly within the CSR platform.

While they serve entirely different functions in the matching gift process, the bottom line is that both types of software work to improve the overall experience of corporate matching gifts.

Where do CSR vendor checks come from?

Where Do CSR Vendor Checks Come From?

CSR vendor checks come from the corporate giving platforms that manage your donors’ employers’ philanthropy programs. Here’s a simple breakdown of the process works:

  1. A nonprofit supporter makes a donation to your organization, and the donor is informed that their gift is eligible for a company match.
  2. The donor is directed to their employer’s matching gift portal, which is hosted by a CSR vendor platform.
  3. The donor completes a matching gift request form within the portal platform, providing required donation details such as a gift receipt, organization EIN, and contact information.
  4. The donor’s employer reviews and approves the match request within their CSR platform.
  5. The CSR vendor processes and submits a matching donation to your organization.

Let’s look at a more specific example of how this might have gone behind the scenes:

A donor, John, made a donation to your nonprofit via your online donation form. Within the form, he was asked to enter his employer’s name in an embedded search tool provided by your organization’s matching gift software to see whether the company would match his gift.

After selecting his employer, Apple, Inc., from the auto-filling dropdown menu, John submits his donation. He is automatically rerouted to your nonprofit’s donation confirmation page, where he is met with company-specific information about a matching gift program offered by his employer, Apple.

John is prompted to “Go to Matching Gift Form,” and upon clicking the button on the confirmation page, is brought to an employee giving portal hosted by a CSR vendor called Benevity. John completes a brief online form within the portal, providing details from his previous nonprofit donation and submitting his match request to his employer.

John’s employer, Apple, is then notified of his match request, where they ensure his initial donation fell within company match guidelines. When they see that it does, Apple approves the matching gift request through Benevity.

As the matching gift program facilitator, Benevity cuts a matching check to your organization and sends it in the mail.

Step by step, the matching gift request and disbursement process makes sense. But when all you see is a donation from a CSR vendor you’re not familiar with, it can be a bit more difficult to put together the puzzle pieces. And it might seem like it came out of nowhere!

Although indirectly, the main thing to note is that a nonprofit check from a CSR vendor comes from a supporter participating in a corporate giving initiative.

What should I do after receiving a check from a CSR vendor?

What Should I Do After Receiving a CSR Vendor Check?

You understand that you received a check from a CSR vendor as a result of a supporter requesting a matching gift. What now?

We recommend following these procedures:

  1. Designate the gift as a company match. The first step is, of course, to identify the donation check as one from a CSR vendor through a corporate matching gift program. One of the easiest ways to do this is by becoming familiar with the companies that disburse matching gift donations. When you see one of these providers in your donor records, know to flag it as a corporate gift.
  2. Determine which supporters indicated they’d requested a match. It can sometimes be difficult to correctly associate a donation match you receive with the supporter who requested it on your behalf. That’s why it’s important to keep in close contact with your donors⁠—especially those who are flagged as match-eligible. Share follow-up communications after they submit donations, encouraging them to request a match and share updates as they move through the process. This way, you can easily determine the supporters to credit for your donation matches.
  3. Enlist matching gift automation to streamline the process. You might be concerned that your organization lacks the time, resources, and workforce necessary to follow up with each donor and identify those who have or will be requesting donation matches. That’s where matching gift automation comes in! With the right software (such as Double the Donation’s industry-leading solution, 360MatchPro), you can configure post-transaction communications to be automatically triggered at various points in the giving experience. This might include soon after submitting their donation, once they indicate that they’ve requested a match, after you’ve received the company gift, and more.
  4. Thank your matching gift donors for their above and beyond support. Once you’re aware of which donors have requested matches for their donations, you know which individuals to thank. Be sure to share your appreciation both when they initially indicate that they’ve requested a match as well as once you receive the corporate donation!
  5. Record and analyze matching gift data. Throughout the process, you’ll collect a wide range of information that can help as you measure corporate fundraising success and locate areas with room for improvement. Tracking this data over time allows you to get a better understanding of your donors, their employers, and the role CSR vendors play in it all.

If you’re not already taking these steps, you’re likely missing out on a ton of valuable data, donor touchpoints, and even potential revenue. When you adopt the above suggestions, however, you ensure your organization is all set to continue receiving CSR checks⁠—and to handle them effectively when you do.

Why are CSR vendors important for my nonprofit?

Why Is This Important for My Nonprofit?

Sorting through CSR vendor checks, tracking your giving revenue, and communicating with the individuals who made your company donation possible might seem like a lot of work. Perhaps you’re even tempted to skip this step entirely. After all, you’ve already received the donation from the vendor. Can’t you just leave it be?

Technically, yes. But you’d be missing out on key steps in the corporate and workplace fundraising processes⁠—and the benefits that come with optimized practices.

Specifically, here are a few of the biggest reasons why tracking your CSR checks effectively is important for your organization:

  • Effective data management: First off, you want to keep your fundraising database as clean and organized as possible. If you have a bunch of records sitting in your CRM that don’t accurately reflect the nature of the donations, that will likely become a problem. If you have corporate gifts sorted and documented by their association with specific donors, you can quickly and easily determine where they came from and how to treat them.
  • Improved donor relations: Checks from CSR vendors come from corporate giving programs, most of which are the direct result of donors requesting gift matches from their employers. Although these bonus gifts do not come directly from your donors’ wallets, it’s important to recognize⁠ and communicate that the contributions would not have been possible without your individual donors’ above and beyond support. Stay in touch with donors after they request their corporate match, and be sure to thank them at every step along the way. This can significantly benefit your donor relationships!
  • Corporate fundraising opportunities: If donors don’t believe their company match made a difference⁠—or even made it to your organization⁠—they’re not likely to take steps to secure a match for their next donation. But when you take the time and effort to steward the corporate donation effectively, you’ll set your team up to receive more and more corporate revenue to benefit your mission.

When it comes to managing workplace giving checks by CSR vendors, following the steps outlined above will help ensure success going forward. The better your corporate fundraising efforts, the more you’ll raise through this channel in the future.

Additional Corporate Giving Resources

CSR vendors and matching gift software can each help improve the corporate giving process