When your organization connects, or asks for support from the business community are you doing this as a philanthropic level or a strategic one?

Often connections are at the philanthropic, a request do financial support, there’s no harm in this, however a more strategic partnership could reap bigger opportunities for your organization.
Philanthropic giving is often because the donor believes in your cause and, expect no return on their giving. Whereas strategic giving, is planned and can involve the gifting of resources, time and/or money. When giving is done at the strategic level there is typically an expectation of a return on the ‘investment’ these donors give. 

Some studies show that businesses view their support and relationship with organizations as being ‘the right thing to do’,

A study conducted by and reported Inspiring Communities, shows that 88% of businesses currently suoort community organizations for the following reasons:

Right thing to do                                                     66%
Fulfilled wishes of directors or shareholders       39%
Fulfilled organisational goals or strategies           30%
Improved staff moral and/or productivity             27%

Less than a third of respondents state business drivers as a reason for supporting a chariy, rather they do it for more philanthropic reasons.

I’ve previously written about businesses connecting with community organizations and how this can impact on staff morale, something which I’ll further write on as I cover my thoughts in each of the above ‘reasons’ why businesses support organizations.

There’s no harm with philanthropic giving but, organizations could likely do themselves and their donors more faviurs by looking at a strategic path for support.
When was the last time your organization (or your business) had a discussion about a strategic partnership?
Some organizations I’ve talked with have said they never have and give a fear of losing control for not having this discussion. This has amazed me, not only is it short sighted it also shows (to me) a fear of the management of the organization of not knowing how to do business. When I’ve suggested this I’ve been told “we’re a charity not a business”, true, but organizations must be run as a business.
If an organization wants t gain support from the business community it must be able to demonstrate sound business practices, that funds raised are used appropriately and that where possible savings in overheads are made – through gifts received and strategic partnerships formed. Again, I’ll address this in a future post(s).
After reading this, if you haven’t already, spend some time and mind map how your organization can build strategic partnerships. You’ll be surprised how these can be developed. As the old saying goes “it won’t happen overnight but it will happen”. You just need the right direction, plan and confidence in your organization to start discussions with businesses in your community.

One thought on “Philanthropic v Strategic Relationships

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