Nonprofits, Businesses: Can We Stop The Swap?

A thought-provoking perspective on the nature of giving…and on the virtue of gratitude. Great stuff, especially in this season of Thanksgiving!

Mueller Communications

Flickr photograph by dcdailyphotos Flickr photograph by dcdailyphotos

It would be difficult to return to a time when businesses donated to charities because it was the right thing to do.

Today, corporate giving and employee volunteer programs are mostly marketing partnerships. They’re intended to be mutually beneficial for the business and the nonprofit. But anecdotal evidence is showing businesses want more from charities and nonprofits are receiving less. In some cases, time spent negotiating and supporting partnerships reduces time and resources designated for achieving the nonprofit’s mission. Many nonprofits leverage the ability to provide visibility to business as a competitive advantage against other charities for donations.

What happened to giving without expecting anything in return?

“If expecting something in return is your reason for giving, you are really not giving—you’re swapping,” wrote David Cottrell in  his book, “Monday Morning Mentoring: Ten Lessons to Guide You Up the Ladder.”

Swapping isn’t a sustainable, long-term strategy for nonprofits. It’s the…

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