Members of the Nevada Corporate Giving Council (NCGC), representing the gaming, banking and mining industries, recently met with southern Nevada nonprofit executives to share insights about corporate philanthropy in Nevada. Coordinated by the Las Vegas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the discussion provided Opportunities for corporate donors and charitable organizations to have a dialogue about best practices and their mutual motivations, needs, expectations and challenges.
Michael Brown, executive director, USA of Barrick Gold Corporation, began the discussion by observing that sponsorship of community programs are a fundamental responsibility for corporate entities, but charitable organizations need to realize that contributions come from shareholder funds and corporate executives have a responsibility to their shareholders to allocate them wisely. “Our resources are not unlimited. At Barrick, we have designated core areas such as education, social justice and the arts as our strategy. It is important that nonprofits do some research ahead of time to determine if their requests are the right fit.”
Lori Nelson, vice president of corporate communications for Station Casinos, offered similar advice. “Nonprofits must personalize their approach to the individual corporation, and it helps to build relationships with people inside the organization. A generic “Dear Sir” letter doesn’t inspire action or confidence.”
All of the panelists agreed that donation requests that leveraged multiple fundraising and programming resources were most likely to be successful. “Corporate donors look favorably on collaboration between multiple nonprofits, and we look for targeted approaches rather than broad shotgun programming,” said Paul Stowell, senior vice president for City National Bank. Brown added that coordinating among nonprofits and triangulating resources for maximum reach is beneficial.
According to the Nevada Corporate Philanthropy Report prepared for the NCGC by Applied Analysis and the Moonridge Group, Nevada corporations were responsible for an estimated $134.4 million dollars in direct support of nonprofit programs in 2014, representing .22 percent of gross revenue, which is considerably more generous than the .13 percent national average. “We’ve known all along that Nevada businesses support Nevada organizations,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis. “Even during the downturn in the economy, Nevada corporations stepped up to the plate with philanthropic efforts.”
The panelists agreed that nonprofits must have a proven track record, must be able to accomplish the goals they have established in their grant requests, and must keep funders aware of the progress and accomplishments of their programs. “The key is to build personal relationships, fully explain the need, develop creative programs and solutions, show tangible results and stay in communication with corporate funders,” said Julie Murray, CEO and principal of Moonridge Group Philanthropy Catalysts. “Corporate executives and their shareholders want to know that their contributions have a real impact.”
Murray shared that data about 2015 corporate giving is being collected now for release in February 2016, and urged nonprofit organizations to have their board members participate. “We’ve had great participation from corporate funders in the past, but there are more organizations that should participate so we can tell the most complete story about corporate philanthropy in Nevada.”
To participate in the survey, visit https://opnshr.com/studies/w30018 or contact Brianna Lawrence at Moonridge Group Philanthropy Catalysts at 702-570-7693 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nevada Corporate Giving Council brings together senior executives in corporate philanthropy in Nevada in order to build connectivity, share best practices, gain a deeper understanding of community issues, and publish an annual report on corporate giving in Nevada, all with the ultimate purpose of achieving real, measurable social change on our community’s greatest challenges. To learn about NCGC, visit http://www.moonridgegroup.com/ncgc/.
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