What makes effective corporate giving? Here are the six pillars you need to build effectively. Each is illustrated by the Trees for Troops program.
1. Impact Core Challenges-Good corporate giving positively impacts business performance and profits. SOS corporate giving climbs higher. It positively impacts key challenges that firms face.
Year round, FedEx faces competition from shippers including the postal services and UPS. Christmas tree farms compete with manufacturers of artificial trees. Just as shipping and tree purchase decisions peak, Trees for Troops comes online. The proposed program gives live Christmas trees to the troops here and abroad.
2. Vested Interest-Before you act, identify the benefits that your firm, the nonprofit, and the community will enjoy.
Trees for the Troops supports the troops, purchasing trees, and choosing FedEx. Media opportunities abound as trees are loaded and unloaded from FedEx trucks. The troops and their families enjoy fresh holiday trees and gain terrific emotional support.
3. Proactive-Seek partners. Don’t wait for them to contact you.
FedEx contacted the National Christmas Tree Association about starting Trees for Troops.
4. Leverage Assets-Mix and combine assets and generate dynamic opportunities.
Tree farmers donate live trees that would not be sold each year. FedEx donates free shipping as they gear up for the holidays. Both tap into under used assets. The association, FedEx, and farmers tap their media contacts to share the good news.
5. Engage Others-To build momentum and results, don’t do this alone.
Trees for Troops engages volunteers for tree loading and delivery. It seeks donations from individuals. It captures free media.
6. Monitor Results-Effective SOS corporate giving focuses on results, not costs.
Trees for the Troops delivers around 17,000 live Christmas trees to 60 military bases every year. In 2008, 3.4 million U.S. households stated that the program influenced their decision to purchase a farm-grown tree; 23.4 million saw, read, or heard about the program. Essentially 17,000 live tree matched with free shipping impacts 23.4 million responses.
Build effective corporate giving on six pillars. When helping businesses, I start with helping them to solve or improve a key business challenge. I recommend you start your corporate giving at the same place.
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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