The day that I started my company, I had the same feelings of everyone else that was a first-time business owner. I was excited, motivated, and filled with ideas of how to make the world a better place. However, I also decided to do something a little different. I decided to ensure that my first business venture donated twenty-five percent of its proceeds to charities. However, because I also decided to ensure that my company had a current and signed agreement with all participating charities, I found that donating to the charities that I wanted to donate to was a lot more difficult than I originally had thought.
Initially, there was a great deal of hope. I contacted a handful of charities that I held in high esteem. All of which were charities that I had either donated to myself, or were extremely well rated by Charity Navigator, a highly respected and successful charity listing and review website. All of my life experiences and research brought me to this list, and I was looking forward to helping them. I initially made contact with all of them, and contacted the first person on their marketing staff that I could reach who also had the ability to sign an agreement with my company. There was a positive response from most of these individuals, primarily due to my positive energy, as well as my belief and excitement about the project. However, many times I found out that, whenever the individual finally ran the project up the chain of command within their organization, the tune of the people that I had initially had a positive response from would suddenly change.
Now, don’t start thinking that my occasional rejections were due to the fact that the charities were being snide or cross. I found that many of the reasons were due to various rules and guidelines that the charities have in regards to building partnerships with companies. However, it was when I began asking questions about these rules and guidelines that I began to find out the truly interesting information. All companies that wish to be in the Better Business Bureau community, must abide by the rules and guidelines that the B.B.B. had within their Wise Giving Alliance. They are rated and scored by the B.B.B. based upon how they conduct business, as well as who they decide to do business with. Hence, a charity that has partnerships with a lot of companies that have a lifespan of less than three years, will find itself with a lower score than a charity that has partnerships with “established” corporations.
So, how can a newly created corporation expect to enter into a partnership with the best charities? If you want to partner with charities that are rated as being the most efficient in their field, as well as producing the greatest results, can you expect to find success? The answer is that, most decidedly, they will not be able to do so. Even though the corporation is highly organized, has a recipe for success, and has all of the best of intentions to help these top-notch charities, they have the entire system working against them.
Does this mean that these fledgling business owners give up the charity donation business model? Absolutely not! Their best bet is to start with some smaller, but high quality, charities to begin doing business with, and to get themselves established within the charity community as a reputable charity partner corporation. By spending some time proving yourself as a dependable and responsible business owner, as well as a charity contributor, you will suddenly find doors opening that were previously locked shut. This is the final ingredient to success in the charity partnership community, and will allow you to do the greatest good through the success of your business.
What can charities do to help small business owners when it comes to finding a good and perfect partnership? Start by having a page on your website specifically listing your corporate guidelines regarding corporate partnerships, as well as any restrictions that you may have. Charities can also provide feedback to the Better Business Bureau about which rating guidelines they feel are unfair to charities, as well as to possible corporate partners. Saying no to a company that wants to donate money to a good cause might as well be saying that you don’t want to cure whatever ailment that the charity is striving to cure! Just as laws become out-dated and need revisiting in order to decide if they need to be deprecated, the Better Business Bureaus guidelines may need some revisiting by the charity community in order to see if they are, in fact, still in the best interests of everyone involved.