“…Yes, we’re looking for sponsors for our annual [insert cause here] dinner…would you be interested in donating?” It’s a pretty simple, straightforward pitch that small business owners have heard dozens of times. How do you say no to sponsoring a table for some dinner/auction/gala of a great cause, or NOT sponsor a local baseball/soccer/football team of 9-year olds?
Charitable giving of some form is almost a given for most companies—you get a nice tax write off, a good cause gets some cash, and the business has some positive PR about how they are invested in the community. But is that really enough? Does it really leave you feeling satisfied that you’re “leaving an impact on the community”? It seems like many non-profit organizations can just take your check and leave you feeling in the dark until their next big project or fundraising event. Maybe you will get some info on their total giving for the year and a few statistics on what they’ve accomplished, but where are your dollars in all that? Who actually felt the impact of your donation?
I’m not at all blaming non-profits. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, both as a donor and as someone who’s worked in the non-profit field for almost 10 years. It’s hard work being a part of an organization that is always trying to keep the work at hand and mission of the organization as the priority, while playing 6 different roles within the office, trying to maintain a shoe-string budget, AND on top of all that, keeping in touch with major donors, let alone the smaller ones. In the end, it leaves businesses feeling disconnected from their donations and non-profits losing out on potential funds and relationships.
At mBridge Global, we envision a giving relationship between businesses who care about people in the world and non-profits who are boots-on-the-ground doing this work. A relationship where both are feeling fulfilled: the businesses are receiving constant feedback and stories about lives changed because of their donations, and the non-profits are feeling as tough they have an advocate on their side, providing funding and support, so they can stay focused on their mission. The key for this to happen is someone in the middle who understands both the non-profit world and the small business world, facilitating this type of relationship.
Our desire is to break the current model of corporate giving, which makes donations all about write-offs and not about relationships. We want businesses to feel as though they are privy to inside information, hearing new and exclusive news about lives being changed in their communities, and for them to understand how they are directly a part of this change. We want non-profits to feel like they have people in the community that are cheering them on and supporting them as they pour themselves out for the sake of the communities they serve. Wouldn’t this be a more exciting way to give back. Wouldn’t this change the world.
Director of Operations