Working with Corporations

The UW has a long history of building and maintaining positive and mutually beneficial relationships with corporate partners. In a typical year, more than 3,500 companies support the UW. Gifts and grants from corporate partners average more than $60 million, which places the UW in the top ten of all public and private universities in the amount of support received from corporations.

Corporate giving programs are structured in a variety of ways, ranging from very informal to highly organized. Corporate giving often is tied closely to profitability, which can affect a company’s ability to give and make multi-year commitments. A company’s “bottom line” interests typically are driven by factors that influence their sales and profits, market penetration, enhanced public awareness, and improved corporate image. Support from corporations can be broken into four basic types: (1) philanthropic (cash and in-kind gifts); (2) research focused (grants and sponsored research); (3) marketing focused (underwriting and sponsorships); and (4) employee matching gifts.

Over the past twenty years, corporate support has shifted away noticeably from the traditional philanthropic model. While companies continue to make incredibly generous “no strings” gifts to support higher education, corporate giving is now more focused on strategic partnerships and support for focused projects and programs that provide a tangible, value-added return on investment.

For family owned companies, gifts and grants typically parallel the family’s philanthropic interests. As with any potential funder, it always is a good idea to ask about how the decision making process works and also about how frequently decisions are made. The UW has relationships with numerous companies that utilize a “limited submission” policy, which means they will only accept proposals that have been reviewed initially by UW and submitted annually as a result of a request for proposals, or RFP. Most companies welcome inquiries and proposals throughout the year.

Tips for approaching corporations:

  • Start on the Advance database – review giving and contact history and learn as much as you can about areas of past and current involvement.
  • Contact the relationship manager (RM) to discuss your interest in approaching the company. Obtain as much background information as possible before making your approach.
  • Talk with any faculty in your department who might have a relationship with the company.
  • Visit the company’s web site – determine if their giving priorities are a match for your program.
  • Need more information? Contact Advancement Research and Relationship Management.
  • Make your call – then file a contact report. If you will submit a proposal, make sure the gift expectancy is recorded on Advance.

Our approach to working with corporations is designed to enhance and enable the ability of the business community to connect with our best resources – talented people, reliable information, and effective solutions. Thank you for supporting innovation and collaboration with our corporate partners! Please contact the Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations if you need assistance or if you have any questions.