As we advise corporate clients on social responsibility efforts, Intesa colleagues are often on the front line to respond to the public’s requests for sponsorships. In our work with non-profits, we are sometimes the ones making an appeal. Either way, my first question is always the same: “Does this gift fit the company’s mission?”
My question goes beyond the mission to increase the bottom line. I want to know whether it offers a chance for the company to contribute knowledge as well as dollars, an opportunity for real engagement and to perhaps add value to the industry overall. Therein lies the difference between sponsorship and a partnership that benefits everyone.
Over the past several years, I’ve been fortunate to work with corporate clients that have a significant stake in the outcome of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the U.S. By partnering with education organizations that share a common focus, they have fostered a spirit of volunteerism in their ranks, inspired the next generation of innovators who may one day work for them, and brought attention to issues that matter to their business. Students win, and so does the company.
I love a good charity walk/sale/wine auction and companies should absolutely support employees’ goodwill efforts. They are great for building awareness of important issues, raising much-needed funds, and reminding people that we are all a part of a greater community. I just want your charity contributions to complement your business strategy, so that everyone involved receives the greatest possible benefit.