Strategic Philanthropy As A Tool For Effectiveness

What is Strategic Philanthropy and why is it important? Well, Strategic philanthropy is a unique and powerful way to combine your company marketing goals with your desire to increase the well-being of mankind. It is one of the most popular terms in cause-related marketing or community partnering.

Strategic philanthropy is a conscious effort to power play and effect a positioning that connects your company with a not-for-profit organization or cause. In this way, while you are being helpful and working for the common good in your community, your business is receiving parallel benefits in the form of more donations, leads and even investments from corporations.

Additional benefits can include exposure, lead generation, employee retention and increases in performance and productivity.

Critics speak against or rather, do not understand that philanthropic endeavors should incorporate strategy and thoughtfulness in order to optimize effectiveness. Many see strategy as an underlining attempt to stray away from philanthropic goals.  Giving back and making a difference is a complex and sophisticated field, and while it’s often deeply personal and highly individualized, there are four broad lessons anyone hoping to dive into philanthropy should learn.

Employing Your Internal & External Lenses

It’s important to see the big picture and all its facets when determining your philanthropic goals. When looking through the internal lense, you need to ask yourself what it is you’re hoping to achieve for yourself, your family, or your business when donating time and money to charity? If your giving is personal, it’s most likely inspired by theology, gratitude, ego, fear, recognition, creation, power, compassion, or tax and estate planning. Businesses typically hope to enhance their employee recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity as well as their customer loyalty, regulatory approval, and investor value. When looking through the external lense, you’re exploring a different question: What are you hoping to preserve or change in your community, country, or the world? Maintaining perspective through both lenses will help both individuals and organizations develop a confident and clear philanthropic strategy.

Engage & Listen to Your Audience and Market 

When examining those internal and external questions and how to design and implement your philanthropic strategy, include those around you in meaningful and ongoing conversations about what matters.If the philanthropic endeavor is one you’re embarking with your family, include all generations, giving them a voice and a vote in all matters. In business, it’s important to include and engage with certain stakeholders like employees, customers, and investors in examining the answers to the internal and external questions. In fact, this engagement has been shown to have a significant positive impact on the return on philanthropic investments.

Depth, not Width Is The Most Malleable Approach, Do Not Put A Cap On The Scope Of What You Can Achieve

Find a smaller, manageable number of important issues or causes that you’re passionate about, and focus deeply on making an impact. Don’t adopt the “peanut butter” approach, which is the practice of spreading your charity thinly across the surface of a wide variety of organizations.

What are you waiting for? Get Going! 

You won’t see results if you don’t start now, and being able to witness the positive impact you make is definitely more satisfying than doing it post-mortem.We don’t realize that we can afford to be more charitable than we already are without sacrificing quality of life (when have you ever heard of someone going into debt from being too philanthropic?).

Consulting with a financial advisor can help you determine an affordable amount of money to be allocated to causes you deem worthy so you can start helping those in need now. Philanthropic strategist Bruce DeBoskey, J.D., once wrote “Philanthropy is like love. The more you make philanthropy a cornerstone of your life, the more you find the joy, meaning and satisfaction in living.”

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