Here’s some of what I’ve learned helping my clients with this issue:
1. Notice Now
What you’re doing now? Why do you say yes? Who do you say yes to? How much do you invest? What impact do you notice? What patterns do you see to continue?
Divide your giving and nonprofit interactions, from last year, into three buckets:
The Love It Bucket
These gift were emotionally satisfying I love this cause.
The Dues Bucket
I, my family, or my employees used this service or product and benefited from it. This interaction was quid pro quo.
The Logic Bucket
This giving or interaction helped to achieve some or all of my business goals. It is consistent with my strategy for my business, life, and my core beliefs about building communities where I do business.
Reflect on the size of each bucket. How you will move forward?
You might say,” Our funds are committed this year” when you encounter requests you’ll always decline. A better answer? Share your policy in a way that informs. For example, “Thank you for your request. We fund employee sponsored projects that fit into one of the these three priorities. And the competition’s tough.”
Remember that cash moves mountains in nonprofit partnerships. Cash is in very short supply in most nonprofits. Read this recent article for more information. How can you do this without spending a dollar more? Give less in-kind. Substitute cash.
If your philanthropic and marketing partnerships with nonprofits are scattershot now, narrow your focus. Move one partnership forward a mile, rather than everything forward a quarter of an inch. For instance, narrow your support from twelve nonprofits to six. For these six, instead of only supporting their yearly galas, find ways to deepen your reach to touch gala attendees, other supporters, volunteer, staff, and board members.
Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.
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