Giving for the sake of giving…
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” - Milton Friedman
Contrary to Friedman I believe business has a moral obligation to be charitable, and a responsibility as a good corporate citizen to give back something where the company is based and its employees live, and many good local causes rely upon it. For this reason some companies are choosing to outsource their philanthropic decisions to a local foundation.
There are many good causes that have a high profile as a result of their successful marketing campaigns and they do an excellent job fund-raising. They also have the marketing budgets. Then there are the grass-roots causes that can barely keep the doors open with so few resources.
Issue driven causes such as social and environmental outcomes of products often result in the giving being directed in an effort to offset the negative side effects.
The favourite cause of the CEO is often to where the gift is directed, and not to where it could have the biggest impact. In business, charitable gifts are too often given for the sake of building the business or networks rather than for the pure sake of giving. These, “activities designed to increase its profits,” are probably as close as Friedman gets to philanthropy.
Cause-related marketing, such as the national support of a particular cause by a large corporation, is regarded as giving strategies developed to increase name recognition in the hope of improving the competitive context.
While a good standing in the community is of value, to give with conditions, expectations, or other ulterior motives, tends to devalue the act. The high profile photo-op, of the cheque hand-over for example, is a favourite of many.
Choosing where to make charitable donations is very subjective and it’s not necessarily going to bring tangible returns.
Support for cause’s unrelated to corporate goals is seen as more selfless and sincere; this is giving for the sake of giving.
“Do something really good and really positive for somebody today … but do it in the knowing there’s no way they could ever re-pay you.” - John Jackson
Personally, while I do make some financial contributions, I choose to give mainly of my time to the local communities of Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam (I've even had colleagues jokingly suggest that I'm a full-time volunteer and part-time REALTOR® - LOL).
How about you, how do you give?
The satisfaction received from giving is an incredible reciprocal gift, and can be the best gift of all.