Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With Business Giving?

In honor of St.Valentines Day and the upcoming anniversary of my blog, I decided to indulge myself in some reflection on the state of business giving and the direction that it may be and should be taking. Running in my head is the famous Tina Turner song: "What's Love Got To Do With It" and as the lyrics continue:  "it's a second hand emotion."

This past year there has been so much emphasis on accountability, measurement, strategic planning, it seems as though the whole sector of non-profits and philanthropy has forgotten what the words "philanthropy" and "charity" are about. Philanthropy is about the love of others, and charity,has it roots from the Latin word for caring, "caritas".

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who has recently stepped down as the director of a board of a Jewish educational non-profit. She was lamenting the fact that foundations, their chief source of revenue, were so intent on the non-profits proving their impact with metrics, that the non-profit's visionary and innovative ideas were being stifled.

And yet, from the perspective of a business and its philanthropic giving, the value of "having a heart" has a positive effect. Following the post, BlackBaud's Wide Reach, I spoke with Melanie Mathos, the PR Manager for Blackbaud and I told her how impressed by Blackbaud's employee engagement program. "That's one of the reasons why people love to work here", she said.

Yes, it's important to understand and carefully assess to whom and the best ways to give to a charity. But, charity and giving, are not second hand emotions or even second hand ways to make a decision about where to focus your business giving.

Discovering what you and your employees care about, may very well be the first place the start.

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