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The Pressures of Doing ‘Good’

Posted on the 20/8/17 by Mike Davis
Latest News, Not For Profit, Purposeful Blog

Doing good is a hot topic. We are increasingly seeing company espousing Corporate Social Responsibility to Shared Value, and now Human Social Responsibility.

The Giving Australia Report 2016 presents outstanding accomplishments between business and charity in the 15/16 financial year.

Growth of corporate giving in Australia

In total, $17.5 billion was invested across community organisations which comprised of community partnerships, donations and sponsorships. At this scale, we know Australia is motivated more and more to positively contribute to community.

What has this influx and changing landscape of giving meant for Not-for-Profits (NFPs)?

For NFPs, there is higher demand to respond to the needs of corporates and their strategic objectives for community. Keeping up with these demands has increased the pressure on NFPs to provide resources and create sporadic opportunities, most often having short-term benefits.

This often looks like the once-off volunteering day, mass goods donation or PR opportunity. Whilst it is valuable to provide these opportunities, the challenge is ensuring NFPs are able to equally invest enough resources into opportunities that promote longer term, meaningful engagements with greater social impact.

From the perspective of corporates, staff can fall into a default position of achieving transactional contributions, where ‘doing good’ in the form of fundraising events or donations can leave them unengaged and disconnected from the impact of their actions.

Between transactional and transformational

How do we take our force for good and ensure we are making a meaningful contribution to our communities? Given the demands of business, it can be difficult to create opportunities to interweave social impact into daily operations and it’s often that we turn to donations as the easiest way to make a contribution – 82% of overall business giving comprises purely of donation of money and goods.

Whilst the transactional contributions are highly valuable, they can be optimised by positioning them as part of a longer term investment and as avenues to create transformational and sustainable social impact.

The transformational space of giving provides the opportunity for employees to connect and understand the impact of their actions. This may involve regular volunteering engagements with one charity, storytelling opportunities and other initiatives that promote learning. We know that employees are more likely to give regularly when they have the opportunity to personally and emotionally connect to a cause.

Human connection drives progress

For corporates it’s a no brainer, transformational giving not only increases employee engagement and workplace productivity but encourages employees to become advocates for social change.

For NFPs, it opens up opportunity for regular workplace giving as an easy source of income as well as skilling up their workforce through developing programs in partnership with corporates.

Both corporates and NFPs have a role in evaluating and understanding what their commitments and strategic objectives are and how this can be achieved by a fine balance of transactional and transformational contributions.

A considered approach to combine both the transactional and transformational equally in our mission to ‘do good’ in return has the potential to achieve the greatest social impact.

Marie Chung is Partnerships Lead at Purposeful and Founder of Behind The Label. She has had extensive experience building high value partnerships at Purposeful, The Brotherhood of St Laurence and Melbourne City Mission.

Marie is currently coordinating our Social Impact Program at Oscar Hunt, including developing key NFP partnerships and innovative approaches to social impact and value creation. 

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