Give where you live
Give where you live
Capacity Building through promoting philanthropy
Is your not for profit organization asking the right questions ?
Helen Webster, Otago Community Trust Trustee and Owner of Topflight.
I am in my third year as a Trustee of the Otago Community Trust. The coming year will be one of the most challenging in our history given the very fragile state of the global economy. As a group the Trustees are determined to protect the real value of the Trust for future generations whilst continuing to provide positive balanced support for the people of Otago today.
At the forefront of my mind is “How as a Trust can we do more with less?” It occurs to me that we can all encourage others to join us in growing a strong and vibrant community. We can promote the “Give where you live” Philosophy by encouraging and educating more individuals and businesses as to how they can give their time, expertise and or money to empower their local community. Individuals live such busy lives these days they don’t always have time to donate but are often in a position to make a financial donation.
We all know of some wonderful examples, both small and large, where business is teaming up with community to ensure some stunning projects and festivals – my congratulations and thanks go out to those folk.
Some small examples from a personal perspective
- “Payroll giving” is a good way of embracing people. A small regular contribution can make a very big difference one year of an organization. A $40 donation per month (which is what our family contributes to Main Street Youth in North Otago) amounts to an annual donation of $480. This multiplied by say 20 other families giving the same amount suddenly amounts to $9,600 in one year - very real support for an organization that is doing some great work with North Otago young people. When our own children have long ago left home it gives me much pleasure to meet and at times work with some of these great young people whose leaders are helping create a more thoughtful, helpful and safer community. I can share their story with pride.
- Our own business is a birdseed and small animals feeds company called “Topflite”. We grow birdseed in North Otago. Topflite sponsors Cage Bird Clubs shows which are managed and run by volunteers up and down the country. This promotes activity and encourages this hobby in local communities whilst providing families with a unique show to visit. We love mixing and mingling with people who love to breed and care for birds. At the same time we can gain much by learning what ingredients make for a happy healthy bird. As a result we now know that 96% of winning birds are fed Topflite seed. A great story for our business to share with our customers. This is a real win/win for clubs and our business.
- The National Bank Young Farmer of the Year competition National Final was very recently held in Dunedin. The National Bank working with the Young Farmers organization. This is an excellent example of a Corporate assisting capacity building in the Rural Community. The outcome is the building of confidence in many young men and women who will go on to be leaders in our communities. The National Bank can rightly feel very proud.
- McKenzie Craik Limited Chartered Accountants in Oamaru assist the Oamaru Community Garden Trust by donating their Boardroom free of charge as a meeting place while providing financial and professional services and access to the resources of their office. . This is a fine example of a local business adding capacity to a Not for Profit organization. Another great story to share.
There are many opportunities for appropriate business/community organization teamwork. I think with some education and encouragement we could convince more businesses to take a closer look at their donations budget and ask themselves:
- Is their donations /sponsorship budget making an impact ?
- Is the business getting satisfaction?
- Does the business have a great story to share with their customers?
Philanthropy was a defining feature of all of the seven business people inducted into the Fairfax Media New Zealand Business Hall of Fame last year. A growing number of awards and honors are putting philanthropy right up there in recognizing the value of people’s contribution to our country. There is a growing trend towards this – it shows we as New Zealanders are – growing up a bit - a maturing of our culture that is more accepting of success and the complex value intrinsic in giving and supporting our communities.
By us all continuing to ask the right questions of ourselves and others and creating a heightened awareness of how people can “Give where they live” I believe as a community we can do more with less.