Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just-a-Pause: Generosity Can Get Competitive

Today Corporates and all sundry are talking about sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and wanting to do something worthwhile to help a cause in any which way. Some have a more practical approach - to help solve a problem and some for emotional reasons - to help resolve an issue for which they feel an affinity, and because it makes them feel good.

In fact we now have Corporate Social Responsibility Awards given out to Corporates for their endeavors in giving back to society. What more can you have as a carrot to get everyone on the bandwagon of CSR, be it engrained in their businesses or as philanthropy through different charities and foundations?

Realistically, in these days of hyper-competition, promotion is the chief survival strategy, be it an organization for profit or no profit. Now that the sharks are in, how will the small fish survive? What is the differentiator for a Non-Profit-Organization or NGO?

Strong brand presence would certainly change the way prospects and supporters think about the organization and it can help educate potential partners, donors and vendors. As the number of stakeholders is more and multidimensional in nature, they have to satisfy the clients, the donors (individuals as well as Corporates), the beneficiaries, the volunteers as well as the government at times, to win the grants and tax exemptions. The major challenge for the NPO is to build for itself an image that effectively communicates important information to each of these groups. Communication must be tailored since each audience will most certainly have different needs. It has to have a Summary Statement with a message that is consistent in spirit, yet targeted in its execution and detail. The NGO needs to have an "elevator pitch" which acts as a differentiator.

Raising funds and getting hold of donors in effective means is necessary, since funds are the backbone of any non-profit organization. Various events and celebrity endorsements act as touch points where conversion from mere disinterested, passive spectators to active workers or volunteers or donors may take place. Events lay the foundation for collaboration. Take for instance the recent Standard Chartered Marathon, which had close to 20,000 people running for various causes. Through these actions, visibility for the cause is created.

Besides, NGOs are now progressive enough to raise big bucks from Corporates through a marketing partnership rather than a philanthropic relationship.

Fundraising has taken on a new seriousness with workshops being held to train people on how to build relationships rather than out-rightly asks for money. South Asian Fund Raising Group has just concluded their 19th Annual Fundraising Workshop. Col Surat Sandhu, CEO says "Never ask for money but always look to forge a relationship. Nobody is ready to put the money where the mouth is. A fund raiser only has to put up an important requirement and the urgent requirement will be looked after."

No one is complaining about this win-win situation, which has given rise to a Windfall of Charity!!

Source: http://living.oneindia.in/expressions/life-expressions/2008/corporate-charity.html

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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