The future of charitable giving
The key to charitable giving is creating a sustainable framework from which to operate. How many times have we all said that we would like to volunteer or even just give our old clothes to charity but never get around to doing it? Doing one-off small acts of kindness is rewarding but it is almost always more rewarding when you know you are doing it as a collective and know that your contributions are sustained in an impactful framework. The impact is greater and faster when people join forces and there is a certain camaraderie that is formed when you are doing something for the greater good.
The challenge with once-off giving is that the charity starts to rely on the income and then when it is removed having built their budgets upon it, they begin to fail. Charities need commitments from organisations and these must be of a symbiotic nature. A good example of this is Nabisco biscuits in the US. Their sales had been falling year to year and they needed to boost their profits so they decided to use cause-related marketing and team up with the World Wildlife Fund. They designed a new special edition range of biscuits, each representing the 4 most endangered species, and changed the box string to green. They promised to donate 5 cents from every sale to the WWF. The results were equally wild – $100,000 was raised for the charity and sales increased by 20% over the course of the two year promotion.
So how do we get our business leaders to think differently? In a chat with Sir Richard Branson in his game lodge he says:
“Leaders stay at the coal face for too long, delegate early and then you can make better decisions about the company’s greater vision”.
Greg Secker thinks that “You can think and you can work, but you can’t do both at the same time. The strategy should look like:
1) Delegate early, leaders should be thinking and planning the vision rather than being caught up in day to day
2) Identify an appropriate charity that would bring in revenue to the organisation by association
3) Align and plan goals, put the marketing directors from your organisation and the charity together to agree outcomes and steps
4) Monitor and change as appropriate
5) Ensure PR represents both the company and the charity. Tell a story that touches the heart of the matter”
Running a Foundation is about touching peoples’ hearts so that you move them into action. There is nothing more powerful than knowing your own vision and being able to share it. One of the things that impressed me the most about Sir Richard Branson is the way that he shares his vision and brings people together, organising monthly think tanks at Neckar island and other venues around the world for leaders to get together to discuss social change and current topics. When the earthquakes in Haiti hit, Branson immediately gathered a group to discuss how they could join forces to help. He is a pioneer of using leveraged networking to make things happen. This is also a good example of how Branson seamlessly delegates even if it is to other social entrepreneurs.
We need to think differently as business leaders to embed charity into our business plan so it becomes an integral and symbiotic component where one needs the other to succeed, this way the charity is not the first thing to get cut in times of economic downturn. What we’ve learnt over the past year was how to build a charitable vehicle that runs smoothly and how to leverage the power of the people to make things happen. We have used our expert knowledge of trading the currency markets to create novel systems that generate large sums of money for charity. All the way we have thought out of the box and asked ourselves, how can we build a system that helps the company and the charity symbiotically?
Our greatest fundraising vehicle is our annual Flying Trader project where Greg trades from a helicopter high over London sending his trade calls down to our trading floor as hundreds of clients follow his trades simultaneously. Last year it raised over £150,000 and in our recent trip to The Ubuntu Education Fund we were able to see how that money was already making a difference.
The money comes from ticket sales to attend the events and our broker ETX Capital gives all brokerage commissions to the Foundation. It is a perfect example of a symbiotic relationship as the more our clients trade, the more money they earn themselves and the more commission they generate for charity. The broker is also happy as we are increasing the volume of people regularly trading and we encourage our clients to use ETX as a broker because of their charitable giving. Our delegates also form a close and more trusting relationship with us because they can see we are not only teaching them to trade but we are also helping charities in the process.
We will be holding another six flying Trader days this year, the first starting in March. Our target is to raise £250,000 in total for our chosen charities, Barnardo’s and The Ubuntu Education Fund.Tagged in: Barnardo’s, charity, richard branson, The Ubuntu Education Fund
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