Habits of highly effective giving

 

Like in business, charitable organizations require revenue to not only exist, but to provide support, growth, and opportunity to the beneficiaries they serve.

Billions of dollars are contributed to organizations each year. Some donors may question is this enough or is their contribution needed? However, the more appropriate questions might be “Am I giving to the right organization” and “How effective is my donation”? The answers lie within each donor’s personal path to philanthropy.

For the most part, when donors make a charitable donation, they want to know that they are giving to a good thing and that the money will be used the right way. But, how do donors know this? How can they be assured or satisfied that their donations will be well spent? In our opinion, effectiveness equals donor satisfaction combined with impact and utilization of each gift.

No matter the size of the donation or from whom it is being contributed (business, foundation or community resident), here are our habits of highly effective giving.

Identify the ideal organization

When looking for the right organization to support, start by taking a good look at your interests, connections, goals, and influences. These will help narrow the list of local, national, or global organizations from which to select the one(s) you’ll eventually support. If you need help, contact a nearby leader (such as NPcatalyst), who has access to multiple directories.

Understand the organization’s needs

When you have narrowed the search, take a good look at each organization’s reason for existence, mission, programs, and goals. As you do this, you’ll become more familiar with the organization and, more importantly, identify and understand their needs. If you’re having a difficult time identifying their need for donor and volunteer support, give them a phone call or send an email.

Assess the organization

A critical step of the process is analyzing each organization’s operations and performance. This is where you determine the soundness of their best practices. Be sure to assess the percentage of funds being allocated to programs or services; take a look at the strength of their leadership; and check to see if their policies, procedures, and management practices are up to par. If you would like assistance, contact companies like NPcatalyst, which analyze and rate charities on a regular basis.

Establish a relationship

There’s no finer way to understand an organization than by direct contact. This can be accomplished by sending an email or calling a staff or board member to ask questions, request a meeting, register for a special event, or offer to volunteer. As in business sales, the ideal “transactions” take place as a result of mutually-beneficial relationships. It is a great way to watch the effect of your donation.

Leverage the contribution

Once you have made the donation(s), the fun does not need to end there. No matter the size of the gift, sharing your goodwill should help compel others to duplicate your act of kindness, as well as create greater awareness of the organization. For businesses, it is a great way to illustrate a business’s role in community growth, not to mention its effect in generating new business. By simply updating your “status” via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or sending a press release to media or mailing a letter to friends, there is a good chance your gift will keep giving.

Measure the contribution

Similar to assessing the organization (Habit #3), be sure to confirm how the money was allocated within the organization. Whether the contribution was unrestricted or restricted (given for a specific purpose), it is vital that you recognize that the donation was distributed toward its intended purpose.

The significance of each charitable donation is escalated when a donor has a deep understanding of the cause, the organization, and the program(s) being supported. In a very similar approach to building personal relationships, the more familiar a donor is to the beneficiary of the contribution, the more significant and rewarding the gift.

If you have not applied these habits to past contributions, imagine how your giving could have been different. By applying these habits, your future donations will have far greater impact, making your community, country, and world a better place.

 

Simple, yet empowering charitable investment ideas

Millions of investments are made on a regular basis, mostly for personal or corporate gain. What if a million investments were made each day for the benefit of the community, country, and world? Just because there’s uncertainty with our economy doesn’t mean it needs to be that way with benevolence. Here are a few charitable investment ideas for you to consider.

  • Invest your time to advance an organization’s mission;
  • Invest in a future leader by mentoring;
  • Invest some money to meet a community need;
  • Invest a smile to brighten another’s day;
  • Invest your professional skills to complete a critical task;
  • Invest your voice to cheer and celebrate;
  • Invest a meal to help feed another;
  • Invest a little sweat to set up an event;
  • Invest an idea to create innovative change;
  • Invest compassion to help others;
  • Invest an invitation to encourage others to join you;
  • Invest your attention toward creative ways of giving;
  • Invest a jacket to warm another;
  • Invest hands to change the world;
  • Just Invest…the list can go on and on

Some of these investments can be measured, others provide intangible results. In all cases, the ROI generated is life changing…for the “investor” and each beneficiary.

If you’re interested or ready to make a charitable investment of any kind, give us a call at 775-333-9444 or email us. Our team at NPcatalyst can help you or your company create an empowering charitable investment strategy, find the ideal charitable organization(s), and embrace your own way of giving.

Charitable Giving…A Wise Investment

As business leaders, we’re often asked to donate to charity. Whether it’s in the form of personal contributions, direct corporate giving or corporate sponsorship, we receive requests on a regular basis.

Having served the non-profit sector for 25 years, I’m continually involved with corporate giving, either as a business owner or charitable volunteer. I’m frequently asked why businesses are called upon as often as they are. What I’ve grown to understand are two primary reasons:
1. Business leaders have direct access to marketing, advertising and charitable budget line items.
2. Business leaders understand non-profits and, in many cases, serve on non-profit boards.

There are many reasons why corporate leaders invest in charitable organizations. Businesses have an opportunity to make a difference and a dollar. Strong corporations invest in not-for-profit efforts to:

  • recognize and celebrate its corporate values
  • emphasize the importance of ethical business practices
  • provide positive public relations
  • build customer confidence
  • enhance employee morale
  • maintain philanthropic goodwill
  • increase sales leads and transactions
  • strengthen the community
  • And, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

All of this points to responsibility…a responsibility of businesses to increase revenues and a responsibility to help others.

Positioning corporate giving to be effective for both the business and the supported organizations is not a difficult process. It can be easily blended with existing marketing strategies or function separately from existing plans. Regardless of its official capacity within your business, here are suggestions to maximize your corporate giving.

  1. Assess current giving. Take a good, hard look at your past and current giving practices. What percentage of pre-tax profits is allocated for charitable pursuits? Review the organizations, purposes and methods of giving; then evaluate the benefits received. Can you identify a relationship to your corporate mission, marketing plan and staff connections?
  2. Design a strategy. As you plan your giving, consider your charitable budget. Identify the projects, organizations or sectors you wish to support. Determine the benefits, particularly outreach, sales leads, visibility and impact you wish to gain.
  3. Monitor contributions. Maintain relationships with the beneficiaries of your charitable investment to ensure proper delivery of benefits, use of funds and public awareness.
  4. Assess and plan. Evaluate the effectiveness of the giving strategy and its execution. Make changes, design a new strategy, identify new beneficiaries; all are actions you will likely address to strengthen your charitable giving plan.

Corporate leaders recognize the difficulty in giving away money, particularly marked by a lack of information, guidance and tools required to make wise decisions. Being able to identify the best for-profit investments is a hugely valuable talent and a massive industry has grown up around it. Solid nonprofit analysis is just as valuable.

No matter what strategy you use to make your charitable giving decisions, it makes good business sense to ensure effectiveness, both to the beneficiary and your corporation. A properly executed giving program will generate tremendous value through community impact and revenue generation.

Meeting the needs of local philanthropy

NPcatalyst was created and designed to meet the needs of philanthropy in local communities. The company spawned from a consulting firm, Parker Development Services, which worked with select non-profit organizations on their fund development models. To follow a strong desire to help many charities and, at the same time, help businesses and individuals become more strategic with their giving, we decided to re-brand ourselves.

A short ten months later, we’ve worked to address the needs of hundreds of non-profit organizations and community events. This occurred by managing projects like KOLOCares, which designs media partnerships to promote community and charitable events; Blue Moon Promotions’ One Community grant program, which awarded $20,000 to four organizations after analyzing the needs of many grant requests; and, Summer Of Service, which promoted volunteerism by linking community residents with volunteer opportunities at non-profit organizations.

Rather than fit a specific mold, the essence of the company was sculpted to offer innovative solutions to its clients so that, through these relationships, it could meet the ever-changing needs of local communities. “With relatively no direct competition, we’re seeing the greatest competition come from misunderstanding…where businesses don’t immediately recognize that they can generate business by effectively supporting local charities,” says Pete Parker, NPcatalyst’s managing partner. “We’re also hearing that we’re “ahead of our time” by thinking out of the box and offering innovative solutions in the charitable landscape, which has traditionally focused solely on the “check-writing” way of making donations.”

While the root of NPcatalyst’s operations and performance is earthed in strong relationships and communications, the firm recognizes that charitable support can be generated in other forms. In fact, the “success model” the firm designed five months ago has naturally morphed into a service model identifying the ways it’s working to meet the needs of today’s charitable organizations and local businesses.

The model illustrates the firm’s desire to service both non-profit organizations and local businesses, separately. The firm also found a niche in creating solutions which connects charitable organizations and potential supporters by designing mutually-beneficial partnerships or collaborations which, ultimately, benefit the larger communities.

Recently, NPcatalyst launched its Community Catalyst program, which features a charitable fund designed for small businesses. Through the Fund, businesses with annual revenues below $500,000 can pool their funds together to make significant, meaningful contributions to specific needs as identified by local charitable organizations. “Now that businesses which might only be able to donate $250 each quarter, can connect with other small business owners to contribute an amount exponentially greater,” according to Parker. “Not only are we creating opportunities for businesses to amplify their donation power, we’re creating new relationships between local businesses, potential customers, and the area’s charities.”

As the holiday season approaches, NPcatalyst is working on two new innovative projects aimed at generating funds for local charities. One project provides donors with specific information relating to their contributions, enabling them to know exactly how their donations will be used and what they’ll pay for. The other connects non-profits with local merchants to increase spending at the businesses and, in turn, drive income directly to specific charities.

“The heart of NPcatalyst is to drive dollars and leaders to charitable organizations…period,” says Parker.

Businesses and non-profit organizations seeking opportunities to ignite growth and financial impact are invited to contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 and info@npcatalyst.com.

Community Catalyst Charitable Fund launched

For immediate release

 

Small businesses to make large community splash

 

RENO – In an effort to stimulate the local economy and meet vital community needs, Reno-based NPcatalyst has created the Community Catalyst Charitable Fund for small businesses. Companies with annual revenues less than $500,000 will bind together to meet specific charitable initiatives and programs. The goal is to contribute $10,000 or more to local non-profit organizations each quarter.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local community”, says Pete Parker, Managing Partner of NPcatalyst, “on their own, they might not be able to make significant and community-enriching contributions.” The unique giving fund provides small business leaders with a greater understanding of non-profit organizations and their specific needs, strength in numbers to meet those needs, and considerable public relations.

Management of the Community Catalyst Charitable Fund will be handled by NPcatalyst, which will track the contributions, measure the allocations, educate the small business participants of community opportunities, and promote to generate exceptional public awareness of the needs and their fund’s participants. The firm is collaborating with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, which will accept and invest all contributions, thus providing businesses professional management and care of their donated funds. Based upon a vote of all participating businesses, the Community Foundation will process the distribution of contributed funds each quarter.

NPcatalyst is utilizing a 1% of annual revenue giving model to help businesses determine a target amount with which to contribute. The idea is to help local business become strategic with their giving practices. According to Parker, “our goal is to not only provide incredible community impact, but to develop new community leaders, and ignite revenue growth with each of our giving fund participants”.  

To register or inquire about additional information, contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 or info@npcatalyst.com.

 

CLICK HERE to learn more

Umpqua Bank takes community involvement seriously

 

Just one year in the northern Nevada area, Umpqua Bank finds itself deeply rooted in community engagement. Whether it’s through gifts of financial and in-kind support, or volunteerism, the bank seeks to understand and meet the needs of its local communities. The bank has aligned its philosophy of community connectedness with its greater mission of being an outstanding financial leader. “We are actively shaping our neighborhoods and engaging with our neighbors through community giving and community action,” according to Rob Humphreys, Senior Vice President of the Reno Commercial Banking Center.

Umpqua Bank looks for programs that create opportunities for early childhood and K-12 youth that fulfill their educational experience, promote their well-being and inspire them to reach their full potential. The bank also supports community-based arts organizations that lend to the diversity and culture of our communities. Contributions are made to organizations that promote wellness and stability in our community, specifically in regard to the affordable housing and financial literacy needs of low-to-moderate income families. 

Community volunteerism is very important to the Umpqua corporate culture. In fact, Umpqua’s Connect Volunteer Network provides full-time associates 40 annual hours – paid and intended to be used during normal work hours – to volunteer with youth and community development organizations and schools. “Through our innovative volunteer network and giving programs we bring assistance to youth development and education, the arts and community development,” says Humphreys.

In the brief six months presence in the local market in 2010, bank officials logged 247 hours of volunteer service in the local area. Total giving for the year, which included the volunteerism, amounted to $61,185 in local support. “Our involvement figures for 2011 have already surpassed all of last year,” claims Cheryl Lord, Loan Assistant in the bank’s Moana location. To enhance its community ties, Umpqua’s local Commercial Banking Center secured the services of NPcatalyst to develop stronger community connections and link its officers to outstanding local nonprofit organizations.

To learn more about Umpqua Bank’s community involvement initiates, visit http://www.umpquabank.com/ or visit any of the three local stores and ask an Umpqua associate.

Creating an employee volunteer program

 

Businesses, large and small, have made financial contributions to non-profit, or community-benefit organizations, for many years. It wasn’t until recently that they began to increase their engagement…through volunteerism. Employee volunteer programs are becoming increasingly popular not just with large corporations, but small-to-mid-sized businesses seeking to enhance local communities and embark upon innovative business development initiatives.

Recognizing the trend, particularly through the number of inquiries we’re receiving to facilitate employee volunteer programs, here are simple suggestions to consider when developing a volunteer program at your business.

  • Have a sincere interest in creating change and making a difference as a company;
  • Solicit buy-in and support from executive leaders;
  • Hire an employee and/or select a consultant to create community connections as well as design and manage the program;
  • Set goals and objectives;
  • Consider offering special incentives, such as financial compensation, internal and public recognition, gift-for-hour donations;
  • Map existing employee connections, involvement, and interests;
  • Qualify organizations to ensure appropriate connections and validate purposes;
  • Track volunteer involvement;
  • Promote corporate to community engagement;
  • Evaluate employee volunteer program.

 

One task that’s not included, but is quite important, is to determine your expectations. Businesses which have identified and, more importantly, endorsed key expectations, such as those listed below, have developed successful employee volunteer programs.

  • Incorporate with core business and  corporate giving strategies
  • Create a healthier workforce
  • Deep understanding of employees;  strong relationships
  • Improve employee and job satisfaction; improved employee communication
  • Network by interfacing with community leaders
  • Show company and community pride
  • Enhance employee recruitment and retention
  • Recognize and address community needs; improve quality of life
  • Positively impact profitability – 81% of corporations focus their employee volunteer programs on core business functions

 

Community leadership goes far beyond simply making financial contributions. When businesses become actively engaged with community needs, causes, and organizations, incredible synergy is created and becomes contagious. End results include stronger workforces, community connections, and business-to-business alliances.

Think again if you find it strange that NPcatalyst, as a corporate giving consultant, is giving away the “secret sauce” to volunteer programming. It’s possible, but successful programs possess commitment, attention, and organization. This is precisely what volunteer program consultants, like NPcatalyst, provide to its corporate clients.

To learn more about creating a strong employee volunteer program at your business, contact NPcatalyst at info@NPcatalyst.com and 775-333-9444.

JD Benefit Services hires NPcatalyst

      

Reno, Nev.— JD Benefit Services, a Reno-based insurance agency, has hired NPcatalyst to provide community engagement solutions, highlighted by a strategic community and charitable giving model.

“We’ve proudly served many clients throughout all of Nevada for over 20 years and, in that time, made significant contributions to many charitable organizations which strengthen our communities”, says Steve Dalinis, president of JD Benefit Services. We feel that it’s now time to align our community leadership efforts with our business strategies.”

Recognizing the benefits associated with an improved giving plan, the JD Benefit Services executive seek to create strong connections in the communities where their clients live and work.

“The solutions tend to reduce staff time and costs on mundane activities, while enhancing relationships with community and charitable investments”, according to Pete Parker, managing partner of the Reno-based philanthropic solutions firm. “With Steve and his team, we expect to integrate “giving” as part of their overall corporate mission and, at the same time, implement procedures which streamline all community engagement activity.”

For more information about this project, contact NPcatalyst at www.NPcatalyst.com and 775-333-9444.

Corporate giving-a business can do well by doing good

 

As an executive of a small to large business, you likely receive many requests for charitable support, either seeking volunteer leadership, in-kind or product contributions, or financial donations. Whichever the case (or all), it is quite possible that a formal giving process or strategy is not in place…or underutilized (or not leveraged). As a result, charitable support from your business may represent more of a burden (or an after-thought) than an act of kindness or, for some, a cost of doing business. Without an effective strategy, your business will not earn near the benefits it deserves from its giving.

It’s well known that businesses give to their communities because it is simply the right thing to do. We found that many business leaders have discovered that a well-thought out and designed giving program can help support their corporate mission and, at the same time, improve the company’s bottom line.

A business can do well by doing good.

If it’s about increasing market share, hiring and retaining quality staff, creating strong business-to-business relationships, improving corporate culture, enhancing public image and, of course, providing outstanding community-beneficial resources and opportunities…you’re on the right path.

For some businesses, giving is based on the old model of “checkbook charity”, signified by simply writing checks for causes and organizations. That model has since morphed into giving programs tailored to align charitable contributions (time, money, in-kind donations) with business goals, core strategies and desired benefits.

Business leaders representing forward-thinking, strategically-motivated charitable giving programs recognize clear connections between corporate health and the health of the communities in which they do business. They understand that corporate giving is not just a matter of conscience: it is also a matter of understanding the congruence of business and community goals.

Learn more about best practices for corporate giving by visiting www.NPcatalyst.com and contacting its managing partner, Pete Parker, at pparker@npcatalyst.com and 775-333-9444. Ask him about his company’s free Corporate Giving Resource Guide.

What are you celebrating today? We’re celebrating our first 2 months of connecting our community.

 

We’re celebrating the two month anniversary of NPcatalyst’s public launching and excited to report that we’ve:

  • Developed a wildly popular media partnership resource
  • Delivered opportunities to 104 community organizations, businesses and business leaders
  • Generated dozens of new donors and thousands of dollars within a 24-hour period to a local non-profit organization
  • Reached thousands of connections, including current and aspiring philanthropists in 13 different countries, through our social media tools
  • Facilitated a long-term group volunteerism partnership between a local business and local non-profit
  • Created a unique ratings and best practices tool to inspire non-profit strength, performance and funding
  • Linked new volunteer leaders directly to local organizations
  • Distributed a charitable giving guide for businesses
  • Created online giving portals to three community organizations
  • Launched a “mapping” tool to help sales and marketing departments deliver results from new leads

 

Tremendous credit for our success is due to our forward-thinking and goals-driven partners, collaborators, and clients. You’re all amazing!

We’re very proud of our accomplishments during this very brief period and, as a result of the partnerships we’re currently creating, we expect to report even greater milestones two months from now.  If you’d like to be part of the next list of accomplishments, contact us today by emailing info@npcatalyst.com or calling 775-333-9444.

Your philanthropic partner, NPcatalyst!