Businesses receive numerous requests each month to make donations to non-profit organizations and these requests increase during the holiday season. These donations are a necessity to help support the work of non-profit organizations and ultimately help build a stronger community.
Currently in Southern Nevada, there are 275,000 children, seniors and families who live in poverty; 36 percent of them are children under the age of 18. The quality of life for the community is made better because of the services non-profits provide, which ensure basic human needs are being met, that arts and culture are vibrant, healthcare and education are accessible and the environment is being protected.
For example, a third grader affected by the recent economic downturn now faces a lack of food supply at home. The mother has lost her job and is without food on the weekends when her children are not at school. To help his family, the third grader took a cardboard box to school filled with toys, turned it upside down and placed the toys on top of the box. As school began, he was trying to sell his toys for cash until the principal put a stop to it and enrolled the child and his family in the types of services that non-profits provide. The non-profit was able to provide services to the third grader and his family because of philanthropy. When philanthropy is done well, multiple parties benefit. The donor experiences the great feeling that comes from giving, the non-profit receives much needed funds to operate and the client receives help and hope.
Charitable giving not only helps create a more vibrant and healthy community, but it provides a benefit to donors in the form of a “return on investment,” similar to how an individual might receive a strategic return from their personal financial investments.
How Can A Business Ensure Their Philanthropy Is Strategic?
Do the Research: Align charitable giving with non-profit causes that matter to the individual or company. Once the types of causes have been identified, either through the creation of an employee giving committee, workplace giving or a company’s corporate social responsibility program, do research to ensure the offering is going to the non-profit’s core mission as expected. Online websites such as www.guidestar.org or www.charitynavigator.org will help provide relevant information.
Select a Quality Non-Profit: Look at the history of the organization. Does it have a quality board of directors? A well-fueled organization should have a quality leadership team in place.
Be cognizant about how much of each dollar is going to the non-profit’s core mission. According to Charity Navigator, “if an organization is spending more than 33 percent of its total budget on overhead, then it is simply not meeting its mission.
Ensure the charitable organization can fulfill designated businesses’ charitable goals, as well as the interests of the employees and management.
How to get the Highest ROI for Your Charitable Gift:
- Combine a cash donation with volunteerism and/or in-kind gifts or services to leverage the gift.
- Look for opportunities to have the company logo or brand highlighted in the non-profit’s collateral materials, website, vehicles, buildings and social media platforms.
- Invite customers or vendors to engage in charitable work with the company to help build trusted relationships and strategic alliances.
- Ensure employees wear team t-shirts when volunteering and take photos. Post the photos on the company’s website and social media feeds. Photos have the ability to help a company be seen in a positive leadership role and can influence others to engage.
What Can You Expect the Benefits Will Be?
- Enhanced employee morale often occurs because the employees are proud to work for a company that is serving as a leader in the community.
- The support given to non-profits will help ensure the community has the services and programs needed to help provide a better quality of life.
- Improved brand recognition because of the number of impressions seen from the company’s charitable giving.
- Team building exercises can be incorporated into the company’s volunteerism activities.
- Creates good company and individual morale.
Julie Murray is the principal and CEO of Moonridge Group Philanthropy Advisors.