Six tips in the ART of Giving from Business

The holidays are upon us. Every non-profit worth their salt is reaching out to businesses because they know tax write-off season is the end of the calendar year and they are making the asks. Corporate philanthropy should be a value for the company first, before being a public relations tactic. If you get involved in the community, give because it’s the right thing to do. Corporate sponsorship can be philanthropic, but if you expect a lot of kudos for the gift, it’s not altruistic.

Know why you want to give and to whom and what, if anything you want to get out of it

  • Set a criteria now–because some smart non-profit is going to ask you to be a donor—programs that involve kids, animals, education? Women’s issues, political philosophy. Up to you, but think about it now.
  • Decide a budget for how many raffle prizes you donate or table tickets you want to purchase. Then stick to it.
  • Know your cash flow so you know WHEN you can buy tickets or provide a financial contribution.
  • Decide if you’re going to do a philanthropic effort for your community–putting food collection barrels in your office or taking your entire team to  volunteer for a needy group. Spend some time with seniors–help them decorate their homes and then clean up after the holidays. Volunteer to help a non-profit spruce up ITs space–either decorations or maybe just “winter cleaning”.
  • Certainly get the word out, because the media loves human interest stories. But be sure it’s newsworthy. Try reaching out to groups often neglected. Nothing against kids, but lots of folks do toy drives. How about a drive for foster kids aging out of the system with no where to go. They turn 18 and get turned out. Help them get set up with apartment necessities.
  • Share your stories of giving back–take pictures and post them on all your online platforms.
  • Consider employees when making a philanthropic gesture. Even a paid day off can go a long way for company morale. Can’t swing that, maybe half a day. Or a staff gift basket of goodies.

Philanthropy is about generosity that shows concern for human advancement. Underwriting an endeavor – being the sponsor – can be philanthropy with benefits. May you celebrate the coming holidays. And give as generously to your charities of choice as you can.

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