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.

 

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.

Amazing community opportunities in the Old Pueblo

Summer has been extremely busy for the NPcatalyst team. Rather than spend the warm months surfing waves in the Pacific or backpacking along the Tahoe Rim Trail, we’ve been serving clients and connecting with corporate and charitable leaders across the country.

This past weekend was spent in Tucson, where we met with numerous non-profit officials, social entrepreneurs, and new strategic partners. Here’s a brief list of our new friends:

  • Beads of Courage – an incredible organization which distributes beads to children being treated for cancer throughout the world.
  • TreeHouse Farm – an organization which provides an unforgettable experience for children recovering from cancer treatment, serious burns, and congenital heart issues.
  • The Haven – extraordinary organization which provides substance abuse treatment and housing for men and women.
  • Arizona Oncology Foundation – a new organization which provides support programs for cancer patients and survivors.
  • One-on-One Mentoring – an organization which matchs caring adults with at-risk youth.
  • Pima Prevention Partnership – provides practical solutions to address both individual and community problems, particularly substance abuse related.

They were all introduced to our services, particularly our online gifting tool, GiftingWishes, and our BoardCheck assessment resource.

Saturday was spent in a retreat with one of our new strategic partners. This soon-to-be-launched company will provide job recruitment, leadership development, and career development opportunities to both college students and employers. Much more to follow soon.

It was just another amazing weekend. We hope it leads to many opportunities to continue helping enhance the philanthropic culture in the Old Pueblo. Plus, we may have even landed a new job for a Tucson resident!

Thank you, Tucson, for your hospitality, heat, and spectacular sunsets!

Charitable resource for small business owners

 

As we’ve been working with local businesses on their community engagement, we’ve found that small business owners wish they could be more philanthropic. However, they face a number of challenges, no doubt beginning with time and financial resources, which prevent them from creating much of a storm in their giving.  What we’ve learned is that small business leaders…

  • Are typically not in positions to make significant, impact-driven charitable contributions;
  • Focus the vast majority of their attention on core business needs; far less on community and charitable outreach;
  • May not have the time or resources to identify deserving and specific community needs, when approached or when considering charitable contributions;
  • Might not have the budgets to cover the expenses with public relations; or, have relationships within local media; and,
  • Are always looking to create additional brand name awareness and recognition.

 After hearing these from small business owners time and time again, we decided to create a way for these leaders to make significant community impact without requiring major sacrifices in time and dollar. It didn’t take long for us to create a tool, blending innovation with compassion with connectivity to meet deserving community needs and drive attention to local businesses.

The result – the creation of the Community Catalyst Charitable Fund

Through the Fund, we now provide an exciting avenue for small businesses to become outstanding community supporters at a fraction of the time and cost. It removes any burden and stress and replaces it with a forward-thinking and properly executed system.

The fund enables small businesses to serve as strong community stewards and generate considerable public awareness through their benevolence. It provides tremendous value to participating small business leaders by…

  • Participating in an appealing and strategic giving model;
  • Being recognized as a major charitable contributor, as a result of the collective giving fund;
  • Increasing sales leads by generating public awareness through local and social media;
  • Receiving qualified information about community needs through a charitably-connected resource;
  • Establishing potential vendor and sales connections with fellow participating businesses;
  • Making wise donation decisions by utilizing a charity rating and screening mechanism;
  • Exposing your business and developing stronger relationships with community leaders; and,
  • Placing significant influence on distinct community impact and change.

We take great pride in creating avenues of leadership and financial support within our local charitable community. We accomplish our goals by creating strategies which adhere to our purpose for existence and our mission of enhancing and revolutionizing philanthropy. And, in the end, we really strive to create innovative opportunities for businesses to make meaningful charitable contributions and, in return, generate a great deal of community buzz.

If you’re interested in learning more about NPcatalyst or our Community Catalyst Charitable Fund, please visit our website, send an email to info@npcatalyst.com, or call 775-333-9444.

 

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.

NPcatalyst’s volunteerism campaign an award finalist

A campaign to spark community volunteerism in northern Nevada has received national recognition. The campaign’s organizer, NPcatalyst, is a finalist in the Philanthropic Small Business of the Year category. StayClassy, a San Diego-based online fundraising company, hosts The CLASSY Awards, which recognizes the top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses, fundraisers and volunteers from across the country.

If awarded, NPcatalyst, will join winners in 12 different categories and be announced onstage at the CLASSY Awards Ceremony, a red carpet event in San Diego on September 17th, featuring celebrity guests and speakers, top musical entertainment, and the top charitable leaders from across the country!

The Summer Of Service campaign provides local residents with direct online access to thousands of volunteer opportunities through www.summerofservicenv.com and social media. The campaign is the first of its kind and is designed to increase the number of northern Nevadans who volunteer for local causes. Nonprofits, businesses, media leaders, and schools have all endorsed this effort.

For more information about the Summer Of Service campaign, contact Pete Parker at 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!

NPcatalyst introduce a “Community Connection Map” to bolster business sales and community alliances

 

Do you wonder where your staff members volunteer in the community? What about the professional membership and affiliations or the places they network? Do you recognized employees for their community involvement? Have you ever considered volunteerism as an avenue of corporate growth? Have you leveraged your company’s community engagement for positive brand awareness?

The NPcatalyst team has designed a tool which takes a virtual snapshot of a company’s community connection. Through our Community Connection Mapping product, clients receive a “map” of their community leadership. The goal is to empower community engagement and generate increased revenue, and foster economic growth.

We have found that by identifying both existing relationships and new opportunities, our clients are better positioned to strategically target new paths of success. End results include a positive impact on local communities and exceptional value back to the corporation.

The Community Connection Mapping can be applied beyond the workforce. It’s also designed to provide significant value to membership associations, networking groups, and non-profit leadership boards.

To learn more about this unique product, visit www.NPcatalyst.com, email info@NPcatalyst.com or call us at 775-333-9444. Orders placed online receive discounted pricing. Sign up today!

NPcatalyst releases Corporate Giving Resource Guide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

NPcatalyst releases a Corporate Giving Resource Guide

Reno, Nev.— Giving back to charity, when coordinated in a strategic manner, generates positive and measured corporate growth. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of businesses in northern Nevada have adopted strategic giving plans. NPcatalyst, a Reno-based company specializing in the design and facilitation of philanthropic solutions, has released a ‘Corporate Giving Resource Guide’ to help local businesses generate growth through charity.

“We’ve noticed achievements such as increased revenue, wider reach, retained leadership, greater public image, and strengthened relationships in businesses which craft giving strategies” according to Pete Parker, Managing Partner of NPcatalyst. “Successful companies are aligning their community engagement of volunteerism and financial support with business strategies, customer and vendor relationships, and target markets.”

The resource guide took months to design, but it’s released during a period when northern Nevada business leaders are addressing the area’s economic future. “Last year, nonprofit organizations located in Washoe County generated $1.4 billion in revenue – providing a significant impact on the local economy. Imagine the impact when the philanthropic decisions of businesses and their leaders are strategic, measured and performance-driven?” asks Parker.

The resource guide is available at no cost and can be found on the NPcatalyst website, located at www.NPcatalyst.com. For additional information on how to implement the best practices found in the guide into your business, contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444.

Click here for a link to the Corporate Giving Resource Guide.

 

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NPcatalyst, LLC is a Reno-based company which provides philanthropic solutions to non-profit organizations and their supporters. Our charter is to set the standard of philanthropic excellence through effective and value-driven best practices. This is fostered by facilitating an ecosystem between non-profit organizations and their corporate and individual supporters, fueled by active community support and engagement.

      

MEDIA CONTACT

Pete Parker, NPcatalyst

775-333-9444 / pparker@npcatalyst.com