Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I'll forgive him in part because he's an educator, not a businessperson or professional fund raiser, but, really? If a contributor should only cover costs, my dinning expectations for charity events would dramatically change -- no more rubber chicken! However, I fully expect that dollars contributed to an association or foundation fund administration, overhead and other projects.
Corporate sponsors allow organizations to do many things beyond a single event or one-time program. Most of the time the proceeds from one program subsidize the other efforts of an association. I can understand the idea that sponsors should be recognized for their contributions; but to cap funding at the cost of a single program, or to pour 100 percent the sponsorship into external costs for a single event limits an organizations ability to fund other endeavors members and/or sponsors may find valuable.
Unless you're product is a commodity, price should function independently of cost. Whether we're talking event sponsorship or running shoes, price is driven by value, what a product or service is worth to you, not cost. The value of a sponsorship may be much greater than the cost of the program or event a company or contributor is sponsoring. He or she may receive a great deal more value out of sponsorship -- through networking opportunities, sales leads, industry recognition, earned media and brand awareness -- than the cost of the event or sponsorship package.
Profit and/or retained earnings are not the enemy of the 501(c). Members and volunteer leader should be much more weary of organizations hoarding cash and/or dismissing opportunities to increase the appeal of the organization to members, non-members and corporate partners through investment in worthwhile programs.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
As an association management company, we spend nearly all of our time working on behalf of our nonprofit clients, serving their members, promoting their activities and broadening their reach.
But as a company, how often do we shift the focus to our local community, using our time and talents to serve others? That's exactly what Drake & Company set out to do this year.
Sure, we had participated in charitable activities before, occasionally volunteering as a group or collecting items for holiday toy drives. But our goal was to create a program to last the whole year through - one that would foster a spirit of giving within the workplace. We conducted a number of surveys and spent a lot of time discussing what that program might look like. (Want more details about the planning stages? Just drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to share.)
A couple of directives came out of the process:
- The Drakeco team wasn't quite ready to commit to a single cause or organization. It was important to explore the needs and agencies within our community.
- We needed to provide different ways to give - some preferred to write a check, some preferred to volunteer, some wanted a combination of the two.
- Any company-wide effort needed to be optional - allowing team members the opportunity to participate as they wished without placing undue burden on individuals.
- Create a bulletin board showcasing the Cause of the Quarter. Provide background information on the agency, its needs, future events and volunteer opportunities.
- Place a container at the front desk and/or break room to collect spare change. Be sure to provide signage so that visitors know what you're collecting for.
- Post the agency's "wish list" and encourage everyone to bring in items for donation.
- Invite a representative of the agency to come speak at a staff meeting or brown-bag lunch.
- Host "Casual for a Cause" days throughout the quarter, with team members paying a set amount to dress down.
- Volunteer at the agency, whether as a company or in smaller groups.
- Ask your CEO/CFO if the company would be willing to match employee contributions.
- Challenge other companies in your area to participate.
- Post info on your company website with a link to the Cause of the Quarter.
- Host potluck lunches or bake sales - a way to bring employees together while raising money.