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Giving Like A Wise Man

It’s difficult to make a difference or solve an issue when you are spreading limited resources across a long list of worthy causes. Sometimes less really is more.

It should come as no surprise that “just” giving money, without thoughtful coordination, doesn’t produce significant change. Nor does it cultivate any sense of organizational pride, responsibility, or good will. “Signature” causes produce greater solutions and measurable impact by energizing staff, customers and partners to participate, volunteer, and spread the news. Investing in efforts that complement the culture and values (and thus your brand) “produces returns for your company while enhancing the quality of life in the community”.[1] When you focus a targeted giving strategy you get more than you proverbially pay for.

Being disciplined about your charitable investments, treating them as strategic decisions,
enhances the end results, ensuring every dollar invested has the power to impact. Over the past three years large corporations have reduced the number (-26%) of grants but have increased (+31%) the size of contributions to specific programs.[2]  Dedicating large investments or small monthly automatic deductions towards a focused project engages and sustains meaningful change.

BlackDog believes we’re are all responsible for the ways we contribute to global and community problems or fail to contribute to their solution[3]. Research[4] [5] indicates your customers agree with us…

  • 83% of consumers are actively willing to change their buying habits if doing so would help “make the world a better place.”
  • 61% of consumers have chosen a brand that differentiates itself through values, ideas, and impact over brands that differentiate on price.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause, representing a 47 percent increase from 2010.
  • 39 percent increase in people globally who say they “would recommend cause-related brands” since 2010.

Consciously planned giving syncs your mission, passion, core competencies, and strategic goals with the recipients to ensure for shared purposes, expectations and real results. How, where, when, and what you give is enhanced when thoughtfully aligned with your brand purpose. Spending time, treasure, or talent that doesn’t reflect your brand values reduces the internal influence and external impact of your generous intentions. What should you support?”, “What’s in it for you?” and “What’s in it for them?” are important questions that shape giving programs.  And just to say it…there’s no shame in funding a project that directly and positively impacts your interest or passion.

Rethink your own giving. Think beyond dollars. What do you make, what can you do? that positively impacts? Time, products, contacts, volunteers, mentorship, pro bono services, supports, advisory, training, and operations are all valuable approaches to giving. Recognize the hidden need, not just the spoken one.  Mentoring and pro bono services nurture small and new companies that grow into self-sustaining organizations that keep jobs and money in local communities… and create business owners that will in turn “pay it forward”. At BlackDog pro bono is every contributors “job” responsibility.

An authentic brand aligns and defines all aspects of a successful organization. Making  charitable plans an expression of your brand strategy isn’t just a smart decision, it’s the right decision.

Related Posts:

Do Charitable Actions Build Brand Equity?

Redux: Do Charitable Actions Build Brand Equity?


[1] “Giving Guide for Small and Mid-Sized Companies” © 2008 Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
[2] “Giving In Numbers”, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. © 2012 by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.
[3] “Do Charitable Actions Build Brand Equity?” BlackDog Strategy & Brand. http://blackdogstrategy.com/blog/2011/01/15/365-do-charitable-actions-build-brand-equity/
[4] “Despite Prolonged Global Recession, an Increasing number of people are spending on brands that have social purpose: According to the 2009 Global Edelman goodpurpose Study.” New York, 2009; 21 (October).
[5] Five Years of Data Reveals Purpose to Be a Driving Force Behind the Reengineering of Brand Marketing Around the World, 2012 Edelman goodpurpose® Study New York, 2012

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