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The Benevolent Business Person Phenomenon

The Benevolent Business Person Phenomenon

Today’s chaotic world produced a phenomenon—the benevolent business person. The wealthiest people on the planet like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett are giving away their fortunes through their foundations.

On a smaller scale, you may be considering offering your time and expertise to an organization as community service.

From my involvement in corporate giving, a few items come to mind for you to consider:
1. It is important to know the nature of the charity’s work. How do your values align with the work? 
2. What is the global symbol or face of the organization? Each executive must decide how that fits with their own mission, vision and values.
3. What is the “wish list” of the organization? A comprehensive outline is helpful to people to contribute tangibles, not just money. It is easier for the donating company to “sell” the idea to their audiences that way.
4. Each company decides how realistic they find the goals and how they align with the company image. Is this information likely to be posted to your website?
5. What checks and balances are in place to assure funds reach the targets? A complete listing of where the monies are held and a contact person are helpful to prospective donors. People are skeptical when the cause appears too huge to manage.
6. What is your “feel good” payoff? Younger leaders today have a different perspective on causes. It is not just about a tax deduction for them. They are eager to participate when they see the sense of the big picture and how the parts work together. Is this present for you to devote time and attention.
7. For those of you considering to a start a non-profit or be involved with a new organization, I advise writing a comprehensive plan, like a marketing map, that demonstrates the outreach goals and intended efforts. It is easier to align your values with the mission when you can see it on paper. This will support you to obtain sponsors and in your fund-raising efforts.

Hard times can bring out the best in people. Follow the CNN Heroes and other wonderful efforts around the world. Get involved on some level. Your soul will thank you.

Best of luck. And welcome to a positive idea that emerges from the chaos.

Gates Foundation
CNN Heroes //


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