The Money for Good Report (2015) explores why charitable giving remains stuck at 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The authors argue that most giving is based on “high levels of loyalty, low levels of research, and a preference for large and/or well-known nonprofits.”
These three show you how your business can make a heroic impact with its giving. (And why not be a super hero, if it means greater returns for your business and the community?)
To be a super hero: do the opposite.
Specifically, when you donate:
Research. Just like with other purchases, be savvy. Start with internal investigation. What do you want to achieve with your gifts? How do gifts fit with your big-picture business strategies? What types of groups fit best? Most businesses select nonprofits for emotional reasons or existing connection, such as board membership. (Fine if it brings you the results you seek.) Next conduct external research. Review my client list (link) and drop me an email for insights. Also, some local community foundation’s website offer databases of nonprofits who met specific industry standards and match your goals. Here, you can narrow down nonprofits that help dogs in Denver if that’s your preference.
Beyond the Usual Suspects. With a little research you can generate a short list of well-known and lesser-known nonprofits. From here, before you give, ask the nonprofits about the impact of your gift. Negotiate the possibilities to create wins. When all things are equal, prefer high quality, lesser-known nonprofits that serve your geographic area. Why? Who do you think gets appreciated more – a business partner that gives locally or one that funds a national group along with many, many others?
Plan to Be Loyal. Super heroes show up more than once, but they don’t move in with you. Your sweet spot: be loyal but not highly loyal. Seek nonprofit partnerships to support for the length of your current strategy. Avoid one-offs. Avoid forever relationships. Reevaluate and refresh when you refine your business strategies.
Be a business super hero. Research your gifts, seek lesser-known stars, and be strategy-long loyal. You’ll leap tall buildings with a single bound.
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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