The 305 is full of energy, ocean waves, palm trees, picture-perfect sunsets — and a vibrant nonprofit network working to make the city the one-of-a-kind home it is. Miami’s community organizations are the pulse behind the advocacy and improvements so vital to its nearly half-million residents. Yet Miami’s nonprofits couldn’t accomplish half its work without corporate partnerships and charitable donations. This corporate donor guide for nonprofit fundraisers in Miami outlines community resources and fundraising solutions specific to the Magic City. It includes:

  • Leading corporate donors in Miami, by segment
  • Miami businesses’ most common charitable donations
  • The all-important how to get corporate sponsorships in Miami, using strategic partnerships with mutual value-add

Table of Contents

Major Initiatives and Nonprofit Fundraising in Miami

Miami is home to thousands of nonprofits dedicated to an impactful set of causes. Each has the goal of improving the city’s quality of life for all residents through the following initiatives.

1. Ecology

Miami is one of the nation’s most ecologically unique cities. Its ocean-side location means a distinctly tropical climate, plant life, soil composition and geographic typography rarely seen in the continental United States. It’s also the reason ecological and sustainability initiatives have exploded in the past decade, aimed at preserving the environment that makes Miami so special. Ecological efforts include:

  • Disaster relief funding
  • Nature centers and preserves
  • Land and water conservation
  • Animal welfare
  • Sustainability projects
  • Environmental education and advocacy

2. Housing and Infrastructure

Miami real estate is some of the most exclusive in the country, with a marketplace traditionally prioritizing waterfront properties and luxury investments. The unfortunate byproduct, though, has been mounting housing prices for middle and low-income consumers, neighborhood development disparities and infrastructure inequities. Miami’s housing and infrastructure nonprofits seek to make changes to:

  • Affordable housing
  • Urban renewal
  • Accessible transportation
  • Accessible public facilities, like parks and playgrounds
  • Well-rounded, city-wide transportation options, such as walking, biking and boating

3. Education

Education initiatives enhance the accessibility, mobility and resources available for children and adults to receive a quality education. Miami’s community organizations provide both broad and focused opportunities for continuing education:

  • Bilingual educational resources
  • Afterschool reading, writing, math and science tutoring
  • College and trade school preparation
  • SAT and ACT practice
  • Youth mentorship programs
  • Grants and scholarships for continuing education

4. Economic Opportunity

Addressing issues of class, income, employment and wealth accumulation, charities focused on economic issues service a wide range of intersectional causes in Miami. Nonprofit economic efforts include:

  • Financial-literacy workshops
  • Job placement services
  • Career preparation and skills-enhancement programs
  • Professional mentorship
  • Job shadowing
  • Grants and scholarships for continuing education
  • Self-sustainability coaching
  • Free or reduced childcare services for working parents

5. Health and Safety

Health and safety initiatives span the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that dignify and enhance Miami residents’ quality of life. From safe drinking water and affordable healthcare to addressing the root causes of crime, health and safety community organizations work tirelessly on:

  • Medical treatment grants and sponsorships
  • City wellness initiatives
  • Access to healthy and sustainable food systems
  • Combating food deserts
  • Donations to not-for-profit hospitals, clinics and treatment facilities
  • Youth and elderly engagement
  • Systemic neighborhood and city crime reduction

How Corporations Choose Nonprofit Partners

The best corporate-nonprofit partnerships are ones dedicated to the following:

1. Mission and Value Alignment

Businesses are more inclined to work with nonprofits whose missions and values match with their own. Think companies with products or services intuitively aligned with yours — such as a sports franchise sponsoring an after-school youth team or a grocery chain catering a fundraiser. The more relevant a charitable donation is, the likelier a business will say yes.

2. Long-Term Growth

Organizations look more favorably on donation requests, sponsorships and community involvement yielding ongoing activity, not one-and-done check writing. These kinds of corporate partnerships produce long-lasting community impact, plus make it easier for a corporation to conduct philanthropic work and a nonprofit to source continual assistance for core initiatives.

3. Fitting Philanthropic Image

Social responsibility is increasingly becoming an expectation, not an exception, for today’s corporations. Companies understand the public’s perception of their brand is tied to its philanthropic reputation. Investing in continual nonprofit work that connects with their core values — and the values of its consumers — reaps benefits for all.

4. A Keen Event-Fundraising Solution Opportunity

Businesses want to feel their goods and services are going where they’re most needed. They feel honored and involved when their donations enhance a nonprofit’s specific endeavor. Communicate event fundraising solutions and charitable donations like you would a business pitch — tailored to that company, illustrating the solutions-driven match you two make.

5. Employee Enthusiasm

Over 86 percent of companies believe their employers both expect and support their efforts to partner with local charities. Another 87 percent say they select community organizations and charitable donations based on what’s near and dear to their employees’ hearts. Nonprofits can better target corporate donors in Miami by understanding what that company’s actual employees regard as valuable community work, then reach out accordingly.

6. Authentic Meaning

Showcase how much a corporate sponsor means to you. Write impact reports, create annual donor summaries and make on-site visits to give partnership presentations detailing how much that company does for your Miami nonprofit. Doing so provides the quantitative and qualitative meaning behind your partnership that businesses love.

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Corporate Donors in Miami by Segment

Corporate donor opportunities in Miami are abundant. Below we list many corporations according to the nonprofit segment they have a history of donating and sponsoring. You have a strategic launch point to craft high-impact, highly-tailored corporate-nonprofit partnerships in your domain. This segment of Miami’s corporate donation guide also includes:

  • Impact, or “meaning” alignment, companies most often look for in each nonprofit segment
  • The donation requests most successful in each segment
  • Links to the company’s philanthropic webpage

1. Animal Welfare

Miami-Dade County animal shelters care for tens of thousands of abandoned or mistreated animals each year. In addition to animal care, this nonprofit segment drafts legislation, creates environment and animal advocacy programs and lends muscle into broader issues of wildlife conservation in southeast Florida — issues that reach particularly close to home with the Everglades, Biscayne and Atlantic Ocean as its neighbors.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Companies producing petcare products or providing pet-care services, “green”-committed brands and organizations with a broader interest in animal advocacy, aquatic or national park habitat preservation
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Direct and in-kind donations, free marketing and promotion, pro-bono legal services, grants and program sponsorships

Companies with a philanthropic animal welfare history in Miami include:

2. Arts and Humanities

Charitable donations to the arts support Miami as a premier cultural destination. Receiving over $19 billion of all annual nonprofit donations, the arts and humanities constitute 5 percent of annual corporate giving yet substantially impacts the community’s quality of life and the area’s public amenities.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Companies with headquarters in Miami, interested in keeping the 305 a thriving cultural center for music, cuisine, fine arts, performance, theater and more
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Direct donations, program or event sponsorships, arts grants and scholarships, pro-bono art event marketing and advertising

Companies that make regular contributions to arts and humanities nonprofit organizations in Miami include:

  • Canon Latin America: One of Canon’s regional headquarters is located in Miami and offers flexible donations and sponsorships of youth cultural initiatives, particularly for writing and photography.
  • Avinode: The regional headquarters of World Fuel Supply takes sponsorship and fundraiser requests in the greater Miami area.
  • American Airlines: American Airline’s regional subsidiary in Coral Gables offers flexible donations for nonprofits making a hyper-local impact within metro Miami.

3. Children, Schools, and Education

Miami nonprofits in the education segment work on education reform, accessibility, equity, and funding, as well as systemic issues related to underserved or under-supplied schools. They also maintain some of the city’s most successful before and afterschool programs for Miami youth.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Corporate donors with a vested interest in fostering educated populations, which in turn creates more talented, competitive workforces and an economically advantaged city, as well as brands with youth-geared products or services
  • Sponsorship types that work well: School scholarships, youth program grants, program fundraisers, school supply direct donations, pro-bono youth mentorship and tutoring services

Corporations that frequently donate to education causes in Miami include:

  • Burger King: The first Burger King restaurant opened up in Florida in 1954. Since then, the fast-food chain funds scholarships to high school seniors attending university, among other youth-focused grants.
  • Florida Power and Light (FPL): One of the state’s largest corporations sponsors charitable giving for STEM education causes.
  • Office Depot: Office Depot’s Boca Raton headquarters awards community involvement grants to local youth-centered efforts, donates school supplies and funds endowments for stay-in-school programs.

4. Disaster Relief Funding and Environment

Miami is the only city in the United States surrounded by two national parks, the Everglades and Biscayne. It’s also one of the few regions regularly affected by natural disasters like hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms and flooding. With over 800 parks and an intricate ecosystem of natural and man-made waterways and beachfront, it’s no surprise environmental initiatives make up one of the top nonprofit segments in Miami.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Organizations with corporate or regional headquarters in Miami that experience the devastation of Miami’s inclement weather first-hand
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Corporate-sponsored relief packages, emergency relief employee volunteer programs, direct donations and environmental protection or disaster-response grants

Corporate donation partners with an expressed interest in disaster relief and environmental causes include:

5. Human Rights, Health and Hunger

Miami human rights nonprofits work tirelessly to tackle social-justice issues like human trafficking, income inequity and policy discrimination. This nonprofit segment further includes community efforts surrounding food, agriculture, nutrition and healthcare disparities in southeastern Florida, which currently exceeds national averages in things like hypertension and diabetes rates but lags in public health funding.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Corporations in the food and beverage industry, as well as those with company mission statements or brand values dedicated toward inclusivity, social justice and the innate dignity of all humans
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Fundraiser or event sponsorships, direct donations, in-kind donations and pro-bono services
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Companies frequently involved with health, hunger and human rights nonprofits in Miami are:

6. Local Community Infrastructure and Housing

Metro Miami maintains the third worst rent-to-income ratio in the United States and is the fourth most expensive housing market in the country. Affordable and accessible housing developments for lower and middle-class citizens are often stymied by the area’s natural disasters, furthering the divide for sustainable community infrastructure. This nonprofit sector also highlights neighborhood safety, revitalization and public-facility efforts.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Companies headquartered or with a significant regional presence in Miami that understand local infrastructure and neighborhood enrichment is key to a thriving community
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Direct donations, pro-bono services, endowments and grants for struggling neighborhoods

Companies regularly investing in neighborhood infrastructure and housing nonprofits in Miami include:

7. Military and Veteran Affairs

Florida is home to the third-largest veteran population in the country. Miami’s community organizations serve this distinguished group of women and men through career-placement services, continuing education opportunities, housing assistance and much more.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Businesses founded by veterans, with veteran staffing quotas or significant veteran employee pools as well as organizations whose products or services have military ties
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Pro-bono services, monetary donations, education grants and scholarship and veteran coupons or discounts

Companies with strong corporate donation ties to Miami veterans include:

8. Sports

Miami maintains four major league sports teams and half a dozen minor-league franchises. It’s a sports-saturated city, with ample resources for nonprofits looking to launch youth sports programs, skills development, wellness plans and after-school leagues — many of which kids wouldn’t otherwise experience.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Sports franchises themselves, as well as businesses with sports-related and outdoor merchandise or health and wellness brands
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Nonprofit fundraiser event support, direct merchandise donations, team sponsorships and financial aid

Companies that make regular contributions to Miami’s nonprofit sporting activities include:

  • Miami Dolphins Foundation: The Dolphins take the spirit of teamwork into the street through grants, fundraisers and donations to Miami-area nonprofits, as well as offers free tickets.
  • Miami Heat Community Affairs: The Heat supports dozens of community programs and requests in South Florida and offers free game tickets.
  • Miami Marlins Foundation: The Miami Marlins participate in civic engagement opportunities and make contributions to many area nonprofit events.
  • Miami University Sports Programs: University sports programs are often happy to contribute to Silent Auctions with memorobilia including autographed jerseys, game tickets, VIP packages and more.

9. Workplace Readiness

With the goal of boosting the economic profile of Miami, workplace readiness nonprofits offer assistance with individual and systemic hurdles facing the economically disadvantaged. From English and Spanish language classes to technical skills training to sponsoring the journey to acquire a college degree, workplace readiness nonprofit work is meaningful and diverse.

  • Ideal sponsor alignment: Corporate donors in Miami looking to expand their own company’s commitment to professional development initiatives, and those with strong economic and workforce ties to Miami
  • Sponsorship types that work well: Program sponsorships, direct career coaching or mentorship services, merchandise donations, scholarships and nonprofit financial aid

Companies that make regular contributions to workplace readiness organizations in Miami are:

  • Ryder Systems: Ryder offers nonprofit grants for vocational and technical training, workforce readiness and for programs eliminating occupational inaccessibility that contribute toward career barriers.
  • Bank of America: Bank of America branches are known to donate to workforce education and training.
  • Lennar Corporation: Its Miami headquarters and commitment to Magic City make the Lennar Foundation one of the area’s leading donors in workplace readiness and career placement.
  • Cisco Networking Academy: Cisco System’s Networking Academy partners with regional nonprofits to provide grants and scholarships to underserved communities.
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Additional Fundraising Resources for Nonprofits in Miami

Fundraising is an inherent part of managing nonprofit revenue streams. Corporate donations present one of the most sustainable and effective means to do so, with corporate partners across the country contributing nearly $21 billion to nonprofits annually. Another $66.9 billion of nonprofit revenue is awarded through foundations, many of which are corporate sponsored. Yet even fundraising solutions are only one side of the equation. What are additional resources available for nonprofits fundraising in Miami to achieve impact goals and reach healthy levels of self-sustainability?

1. Nonprofit Community Centers

Miami’s nonprofit centers are the hub for the area’s hundreds of individual organizations. Connecting citizens and fellow nonprofits alike, they serve as a repository for corporations to begin two-way partnerships with select nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit network centers include organizations like:

  • The Miami Foundation: Miami-Dade county’s leading repository to match volunteers, nonprofits, corporations and government entities with charitable organizations across segments.
  • Miami’s Center for Social Change: A shared resource, coworking and event space for those in Miami’s nonprofit sector.
  • Miami’s network of community centers: Over a dozen Miami community centers provide educational, safety, financial, material and social assistance for Miami’s diverse neighborhoods, which nonprofits should have on their radar to complement their own projects.

2. Nonprofit Legal Counsel

Obtaining legal counsel can be cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of nonprofits. Yet from tax services to event liability and many subjects in between, handling legal affairs is an essential part of running a successful Miami nonprofit. Legal counsel and pro-bono legal services for Miami nonprofits include:

3. Miami Grant Resources

Community organizations seeking grants can use Miami’s extensive grant tracking, writing and procurement resources:

Kinds of Corporate Charitable Donations for Fundraising Events

There are many ways corporate partners can be involved in your Miami nonprofit’s fundraising event. The five top corporate donation types below represent that variety, offering both tangible and intangible benefits.

1. Material Goods Donations

Material, or in-kind donations, are non-cash gifts given to a nonprofit. Physical goods like computers, household supplies and food count as material donations, but so do services like free dental check-ups, tax filing, event catering, consulting and even stocks or mutual funds invested on behalf of a nonprofit.

2. Direct Cash Donations

Direct donations are monetary gifts awarded to nonprofits. They are tax-deductible and make up over 70 percent of the average community organization’s revenue.

3. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are a form of direct cash donations but include larger financial awards like grants and scholarships. Sponsorship can also mean an area corporate partner pays to put on your entire nonprofit event, taking care of things like venue, catering, music, activities and entertainment.

4. Pro-Bono Donations

Nonprofits most often receive pro-bono donations in the form of free services. Think matters that require technical expertise or years of study, such as legal, medical, IT, accounting and strategic planning.

5. Promotion and Marketing

Many area businesses would be happy to promote your organization’s fundraiser, special event or program. Marketing donations can come in the form of social media posts, email newsletters, printed collateral, signage posted in their business and much, much more. When reaching out to corporate donors in Miami, it is most important to remember value alignment. What specific value will their corporate partnership bring your nonprofit, and vice versa? Keep that value conversation open but upfront, with continually thoughtful yet strategic ideas.

GiveSmart: Helping Miami Nonprofits Find Event Fundraising Solutions and Exceed Corporate Donations

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Brandon Stec

Brandon Stec is the Director of Marketing at GiveSmart and an Indiana University graduate who's worked across sports and tech over the last decade. Brandon sits on the board for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and works as a youth mentor. He resides in Chicago, loves his dog, Mango, and is a published author.
Brandon Stec

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