Partnering with a charitable organization does more than position your business as a socially conscious organization. Your company’s contribution helps others in need, lets your customers participate in a philanthropic cause, and gives your employees added motivation to succeed.
Despite the potential benefits to both the business and the charity, these partnerships aren’t for everyone. The approach can backfire if a company pursues charitable giving solely to keep up appearances or if the company aligns itself with the wrong organization. To succeed, charitable partnerships must fit with a company’s overall ethos and approach to philanthropy.
When Pubslush chose the Flying Kites orphanage in Kenya as its first charitable giving partner, President Hellen Barbara traveled to Nairobi to spend several days with the children of the orphanage, as well as the staff and management of the organization. She saw firsthand the students’ struggles to pass standardized tests because of the lack of resources needed to further their education. That visit gave her peace of mind and confidence that the partnership was a great match and that the children would receive the books and supplies they desperately needed. Pubslush was inspired and decided to incorporate the one-for-one movement, as well as the Pubslush Foundation, into its business model.
Choosing a Charity
While traveling to a foreign country to meet the people your company’s efforts will benefit might not be realistic for your business, it’s important to do your research when setting up a charity partnership. Get to know the organization and what it stands for to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a charity partner for your company:
- Values and structure: The ideals of the chosen charity should match those of your company. Reviewing your own mission statement or manifesto can help you identify charities with short- and long-term goals that align with yours. Choosing a charity with a business structure that’s similar or complementary to your own will make it easier to work toward shared goals and deliver on your objectives.
- Shared passion: Choose an organization with a mission that your whole company can get behind. When the cause is one that they care about, your leaders and employees will be excited to support it and get their own networks involved.
- Networking opportunities: Consider what new connections and alliances this new partnership would provide — including whether the charity is aligned with any parties you might prefer to avoid being associated with.
- Methodology: Some charities deal with high-profile cultural issues. Consider how the charity conducts its activities, and avoid those that could bring potentially negative attention to you and your business.
- Cost: Are the financial, time, and energy costs of this partnership mutually agreeable, and is the organization a good steward of the funds it receives?
Establishing the Charity Partnership
Once you have chosen your organization and are ready to set up your charity partnership, there are some important steps that will get you off to a good start.
- Foster transparency and trust: Be as clear and open as possible throughout every step of the process. Programs should be clearly defined with measurable goals, and your partner charity should be comfortable sharing information about its programs and finances.
- Build excitement: Try to be hands-on in establishing what your role will be as a partner. Make sure people know the event is coming, and get creative in generating excitement around it.
- Remember your team: Establish opportunities for your employees to see the impact of their own hard work.
Resources for Finding Your Own Charitable Giving Partner
With over 1 million registered charities in the United States alone, finding the right partner can be a daunting task, but there are a number of online tools that can aid your search for a charity with the right mission, size, and scope for you. Make sure that your chosen charity is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, or your company’s contribution may not be tax-deductible.
- provides great information for more than 5,400 U.S. charities, as well as hundreds of organizations with international operations. The website has a comprehensive database that can be searched by keyword, charity name, or location.
You can also check out The Better Business Bureau to view its national list of charities that have been evaluated based upon its standards.
Charitable giving is a fantastic way for small businesses to give back and demonstrate to customers that they are committed to making a positive impact on the world. Whichever charitable partner you choose, make sure you select an organization that aligns with your company’s values and is working toward a cause you and your employees are passionate about.
Amanda L. Barbara is Vice President of Pubslush. Pubslush is a global crowdfunding publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge their audience’s interest in new book ideas and for trendsetting readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life. Follow Amanda on Twitter.
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