Recently I’ve had the opportunity to view charitable giving from two different perspectives, the side of the giver and the side of the receiver. I am serving on the Charitable Giving Committee at work this year and lately, the board of Freedom Cry has been discussing fundraising, so I have gained insight into the act of charitable giving from both sides of the transaction. It has been interesting to understand the motivations of both sides.
Non-profits need funding now or yesterday so they can get on with their singular mission. They simply want to be able to provide the services they promise. They need to effectively communicate their mission and success stories and data so that people will be struck with compassion for the suffering of others and motivated to give. They need to prove why their work is valuable.
Corporations want to give back because it’s the right thing to do, yes, but also because it makes them look good and helps them engage and thus retain talented employees which helps their bottom line. After all, for-profit companies are, well, for-profit. Employees want to work for a company that makes them feel good, that provides them with opportunities to be involved in the community or give back. People want to purchase goods and services from companies that they feel are good for society.
We see examples all the time in the news of companies losing stock because they are perceived as bad for society. The very recent Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal is an example of that. After it came out that information about Facebook’s users got into the hands of Cambridge Analytica and was used to manipulate their political leanings in the recent presidential election, Facebook’s stock plummeted and some users (including some of my friends) declared they were getting rid of Facebook forever. Facebook doesn’t want to be perceived as contributing to the weakening of American democracy. Companies give back to non-profits and charities in order to be held in high esteem in the public eye and considered trustworthy.
What does this mean for companies providing funding and non-profits looking to get funding? It means to be successful we need to understand each other’s motives and goals before we start writing grant applications or looking for worthy non-profits. It’s been very helpful to me to see things from both sides of the equation, because it furthers the goals both of my workplace and my non-profit.