October 24, 2017

Declutter Your Brain: Get Clear on Your Business Philanthropy Goals

image of three bucketsWant to get better results from your business philanthropy? Divide your charitable gifts into three buckets. The clarity you gain will help you to drive directly to the results you seek. Here are the three buckets and unique returns for each.
  • The Love Bucket. The first bucket includes causes you love. You loved college. Your alumni gift tumbles into this bucket. You donated to help the survivors of Irma and Harvey, another love bucket gift. Another example? You give to ALS Association to help an employee. Many people say they expect nothing from the love bucket. It’s more accurate to say; you seek nothing tangible. Love gifts satisfy our desire to help with crucial beyond-our-own effort activities, reduce human suffering, and express gratitude.
  • The Belong Bucket. Your second bucket collects quid-pro-quo donations. You give because you honor or respect a person, not because you love the cause. You find these opportunities and obligations scattered throughout life. You buy a ticket for my special event. In return, I give to your walkathon. A  superior asks, “How much can we count on you to give to the corporate foundation this year?” The belong bucket sustains and nurtures relationships. Your return? Treasured connections.
  • The Return Bucket. The final bucket contains investments you make with expectations of returns. You purchase a gold membership to access tickets to otherwise sold-out events. You partner with one nonprofit to improve your branding. To create a more excellent team spirit, you match your employee’s gifts to their literacy mentoring project.
Take a few minutes to divide the donations and investments you’ve made so far this year. Into which bucket do they fall? Are you doing enough of what you love? To build relationships? To receive a business return? Are you transparent with your nonprofit partners about what you hope to achieve, especially when you make a business investment? To discover more, download, Can Philanthropy Actually Help Your Bottom Line?


Karen Eber Davis

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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