Sunday, March 21, 2010

Getting a High Five For Giving

The other week I went to my local Whole Foods Store and at checkout was asked whether I would like to contribute a dollar to "Empower Women Through Credit". There in front of me was a flier with a picture of a woman named Gloria, that explained the story of her business and how with a micro loan from Grameen America, in partnership with the Whole Planet Foundation, was able to start a successful flower stall business in Queens, New York. With this assistance she is now planning to expand into a flower shop.

When I agreed to add the $1.00 to my bill, the employee at the cash register gave me a big high five. I was wowed by this guy's enthusiasm over a mere dollar and wondered what it takes for a business to motivate the employees to care so much and in turn to inspire the customers to give.

I give Whole Foods "high fives" for using these five important strategies to successfully to build their philanthropic program that serve as examples for other businesses to follow.
1. Have a clearly defined structure within the organization, which could be as formal as a foundation, a department, or just a team -whose purpose it is to develop the organization's philanthropic plan.
2. Develop a vision, strategy, and some good ingenuity for executing the vision that aligns with the main purpose of the business.
3. Educate your customers. Provide them with information about the philanthropic programs they will be helping support. Give the cause a real face, like Gloria's.
4. Engage the customers. Ask them to help support your cause by donation. Encourage their giving with matching programs, discounts, or rewards.
5. Involve and inspire the employees. They are your best fundraisers and their enthusiasm will infect the customers with a desire and willingness to help.
Mostly, a “high five” attitude may be the most powerful tool any organization can have to help support worthwhile causes, such as ones that go towards Gloria's flower business and the many other micro entrepreneurs that Whole Foods and Grameen Bank help support.

No comments: