Strategic Philanthropy – Focused giving for a greater impact

A helpful tip I got from an advisor at the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was to recognize that as a business owner, I am a target of donation requests. She recommended planning for some contribution to at least one organization in order to keep a positive reputation in the community. Of course I want to help my community but I had just started my business and didn’t have any money so I hadn’t yet thought about planning for my community contribution. As she predicted, philanthropic requests started pouring in for advertising, sponsorship, free services to be auctioned, and board leadership positions. Initially, I wasn’t particularly strategic in my considerations. There is only so much time and so much money available. So, unfortunately, I don’t have great confidence that my contributions made much impact.

I have recently taken the time to think through what I have to offer, which organizations mean the most to me, and how I can best help them. Building capacity in individuals, families, organizations, and communities matters to me. So, I reserve a seat in each of my classes for a staff member of The Next Door, Inc. and of Opportunity Connections. I encourage you to think carefully about what products, equipment, facility space, expertise and more that you have and could be of aid to a non-profit that tugs at your heart-strings and not dilute your community contribution by giving small to everyone who asks.