Today's Seed ... Tomorrow's Crop: Community Excellence Through Philanthropy
12 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2006
Date Written: October 8, 2006
Today's young people will be our community and corporate leaders tomorrow. They'll not only occupy future workplaces, they'll be the very fabric of social order through government, church, and most importantly, the family. It is in the most basic of all social institutions, the family, that the community faces dynamic challenges. Torn by abuse, divorce, violence, addictions and a host of other distorted values and practices, the traditional Judeo-Christian family structure is being challenged. Today's response will dictate the quality of tomorrow's life.
The attack on the traditional family has vast implications for the corporate world. Employees embroiled in dysfunctional families are more likely to experience productivity problems, suffer injuries from workplace accidents, have counter-productive absentee records and be the object or perpetrator of workplace violence.
Today's corporate world is not simply the victim of the breakdown of social and personal values, it has in some cases contributed its own poison. Corporate and financial scandals, stemming from a distorted sense of morality, responsibility and accountability, have rocked the Boardroom and shattered public confidence. Professional standards, once reflecting the absolutes of the Creator, have surrendered to personal greed and creative relativism. Those who once depended on God for guidance in the office have traded prayer for blind ambition. The results have been devastating, to corporate confidence, personal priorities and family moral foundations. So how best can Today's Seed be guided into a Future Crop that returns our families and communities to the fortress of integrity and values that once ruled this land? Do we let them mature with a come what may attitude? - with an inclination to respond to the loudest voice regardless of the message? Or, do we impact lives at their point of need to reap a harvest of young people instilled with the crucial values society needs?
When Family Isn't Enough: Non-profit organizations play an important role in Tomorrow's Crop. They offer services and programs that provide the moral compass to point families and youth in the right direction. When families are incapable of providing the proper love and nurturing, these organizations put young lives back on track. Whether the need is for preventive action or intervention when moral patterns have deteriorated, parachurch and other nonprofit organizations are there.
The Role of Philanthropy: The direct impact of non-profits on the lives of those who struggle is immeasurable. But an indirect benefit also crowns their efforts. Every non-profit must be involved in fund raising in order to meet the challenge of ever increasing expenses. This fund development task has great value for the community. When people learn to give, the giving binds the community together.
The discipline of giving raises the individual and the community from ego-centric thought Rev.5 patterns to actions imparting the greater good to those who struggle. When giving replaces taking or hoarding, the community escapes the bondage of entitlement and rises to full moral maturity. The donor base of most non-profits includes foundations, churches, individuals as well as corporations. Because of the unique symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship between non-profits and corporations, the focus of this treatise is on corporate philanthropy and volunteerism. Preventive and rehabilitative services partner with corporate interests at the point of identifying resources. Corporations and businesses in a community have both financial and human resources that can be directed to those providing invaluable services. Granted, a corporation exists for purposes other than philanthropy. But as the entrepreneurial energy of leadership realizes success, resources can be identified to compliment the heart and vision of the non-profit.
As that partnership flourishes the non-profit is released from the tyranny of financial shortage to impact people at their point of need. The responsibility of the non-profit in the process of fund development is to connect the resources of enterprise to the needs of the disadvantaged and under-achieved. The contribution of financial resources out of corporate success is an investment in the beauty of community and the power of tomorrow's leadership. The people of the corporation benefit in that they rise above self-interest to bless the community. The non-profit benefits as it is enabled to accomplish its beneficial mission.
Central to the partnership between corporate entities and non-profits is the role of the business or professional leader. History shows that sincere donors have one or more of the following five motivators in their philanthropy:
1. Personal freedom - a quest to be free from influences that potentially restrict the enjoyment of success.
2. Personal financial freedom - Effective management of financial resources to provide freedom from financial entanglements and worries.
3. Family - the use of financial resources to guarantee family health, comfort and cohesiveness.
4. Community - a commitment to better the communal environment for the good of family, friends and neighbors.
5. Heritage - leaving a legacy of positive moral and financial impact on the family and community.
The key to effective fund development is helping the potential donor realize wholeness, resolution and satisfaction in the most significant personal motivators.
The efficient fund development officer will be skilled in understanding the various types of donors as discussed in The Seven Faces of Philanthropy, (Prince and Maru):
1. Communitarians - the largest group of donors. This donor is usually a business leader who gives because it makes good business and community sense.
2. Devout - these donors give for religious reasons. Rev.5
3. Investors - these are affluent donors who carefully consider the nonprofit cause and the personal tax and estate consequences of their contributions. They often give through community or personal foundations.
4. Socialites - this group prefers to use social events to support non-profits.
5. Altruists - individuals in this category are selfless and give out of pure generosity and empathy.
6. Repayers - typically these donors have benefited from the non-profit and are supportive out of loyalty and gratitude.
7. Dynast - usually these donors have inherited wealth and giving is simply part of what they do with their family wealth.
Contemporary corporate giving has been labeled Corporate Social Investing in the work of Curt Weeden. In his model, Weeden suggests that the corporation benefits from its giving just as does the non-profit. The strategic approach of the corporation to giving is based on the premise that giving has business value. The giving doesn't necessarily have direct impact on the bottom line, but the investments meet business objectives because they promote business success. It is on this basis that corporations establish partnerships with non-profits. The investment return from the partnership can come in any number of forms from marketing opportunities, to reputation building, to brand loyalty, or to improved hiring and employee retention.
(Some would suggest such giving is not giving at all - simply the purchasing of intangibles.)
While the financial health of the non-profits is the most obvious aspect of corporate social investing, other benefits are added. The partnership opens the door to individual employee donations and to direct or indirect volunteerism. Corporations sowing today's seed expect effective use of their contributions. Prevention, intervention, and other nonprofit services seeded through corporate support strengthen the community. These services yield employees and executives the moral and ethical standards necessary to compete worldwide. At the same time, enduring partnerships build community heritage.
Harvesting tomorrow's crop is a challenge for those nonprofit organizations which struggle with fund development. Advisory services can provide expertise guiding nonprofits in developing endowments and funding current projects. In turn, endowments and successful projects create ongoing returns on corporate social investments. Advisory services provide the nurturing necessary to sprout today's seed yielding tomorrow's crop.
Keywords: Corporate, Social, Responsibility
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