Transforming Charity: How Companies Are Trading Simple Gifts for Real Results

The importance of giving is an immutable reality. Beyond any sense of moral obligation, building strong communities and good public perception of your organization just makes sense. However, the way that companies choose to give money to charities is currently undergoing some transformational changes on a large scale. Businesses are beginning to embrace the fact that it is simply not enough to give. The goal of giving, some sort of result or metric of success, needs to be brought to the forefront and elevated in importance. Traditionally, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was defined by the willingness to donate. Today, more industry leaders understand that great CSR is less concerned with self-congratulatory patterns and should focus exclusively on making a difference. This shift in thinking is already impacting how companies donate.

Attach Strings and Be Willing to Pull Them

Blindly donating money to a cause may be motivated by the purest intentions, but it leaves very little room for oversight or accountability. Rather than conceptualizing donations as throwing money at a social problem, companies are beginning to prefer philanthropy as a partnership. When supporting a charity, identify one major objective that can be realistically achieved in a pre-determined amount of time. Allocate all resources to reaching this goal on a diminishing basis, with the understanding the charity should need less the closer it moves towards success. This partnership model should motivate everyone to stay invested, financially and otherwise, to work efficiently and effectively. The standard question in business is how to get the most value out of the smallest investment. The same framework can be applied to social improvement. The more intelligently and conservatively we solve one problem, the more resources we have available to allocate to another.

Invest in Change, Not Charity

Social enterprises and even other businesses can sometimes be much more successful at getting results than traditional charities. Depending on the issue at hand, be able to accurately weigh the strengths and weaknesses of all the organizations, nonprofit and otherwise, tackling the problem. Give charitable dollars to the people who are doing the best work, regardless of what sector they operate in. Charities do not have any kind of monopoly on social change. In this day and age, there is little respect for doing things the way they have always been done for no good reason. Both modern business and contemporary society champion the power of innovation. Be willing to think outside of the box to make the world a better place.