In the world of philanthropy, all participants must own their message. Whether a nonprofit organization, a philanthropic donor, or a business with a budget for giving, all must understand and internalize their own logic model and develop appropriate messaging. What is a logic model? In this sense, it is the guiding process by which intended results are accomplished.
Among the philanthropic participants, benefits for small businesses to establish parameters for giving are perhaps less obvious. For instance, resentment from being asked by every cause in town can be stemmed by establishing giving priorities. This can be multi-year cycles of focused charitable giving/marketing based on causes important to the owners, desired characteristics of nonprofit leadership, and/or promotion goals. Business owners may field anywhere from dozens of requests to thousands, depending upon the market. Messaging can be crafted to avoid offending those who are turned down and even engender respect when the business can cordially yet firmly own their message.
From the perspective of individual donors, there are multitudes of causes clamoring for attention and it is ok to not feel pulled to all of them! Remember why the nonprofit sector exists—because there is no perceived profit motive for businesses/private sector to tackle a given issue, and the given issue has not risen to the level of the median voter’s demand for government/public sector action. There is great joy in giving time, talent, and treasure to organizations that are both well-run and resonate for personal reasons. When individual donors are matched well and develop meaningful relationships, rather than pulled into multiple directions every Giving Tuesday or in response to every annual campaign, the nonprofit sector is more impactful.
There are few things as simultaneously empowering and persuasive as nonprofit ambassadors so well-versed and confident in the organization’s vision, mission, goals, and primary activities that they are conveyed with conviction. Side benefits of matching donor concerns with the mission, rather than chasing any and all dollars, is better protecting the organization from fraudulent donations and preventing mission drift. When scrutiny of an organization’s logic model, impact, and finances only increases confidence in the organization, own that message!