September 2, 2013

10 Things I Know About ... Philanthropy


10. It's not all about cash. The three Ts of philanthropy are time, talent and treasure, and most organizations are delighted to get support through any of those areas.

9. It promotes good employee

relationships. Sometimes you just need to get a different perspective on your colleagues. Going into the community to do some goodwill also benefits your team at work. Volunteering as a group fosters team spirit and helps co-workers relate to each other in a different setting.

8. It builds non-profit partnerships. Many funders look for opportunities to support programs that bring agencies together to address a problem by leveraging their different areas of strength.

7. A little "in-kind" support goes a long way. The value of getting goods or services as a donation is two-fold; the giver is often recognized for the retail value of their gift while the receiver is able to redirect the dollars they would have paid for them to fill another need.

6. Specific is better. Asking for general support can sometimes be too — well — general. Being specific gives the prospective donor a clear sense of what their gift will accomplish and what might happen without the gift.

5. Worcester is blessed. Fletcher, Fuller, McEvoy (no relation — bummer!), Stoddard, Harrington — the list goes on. The number of private foundations in this area is not to be taken lightly.

4. It can build your experience and portfolio. Volunteer your time in areas that interest you. The organization will get the donated hours; you'll get hands-on experience in a new field (and probably some good contacts).

3. We need more donors. As our population ages, support for our nonprofits is fading with them. Even the smallest gift makes a difference.

2. Consider fundraisers' marketing value. Why do corporations give? They like the cause; they have a connection to the requestor; and the sponsorship provides them marketing value or an opportunity to connect with a key market.

1. Don't be blinded by numbers. Every small gesture adds up, and our community needs it. Never feel your contribution doesn't make a difference.

Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk is vice president of the Central and Western Massachusetts markets for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

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